Some time ago, I read of a dad in a grocery store, who was overheard to mutter, “If that boy loses his homework one more time, I’ll kill him.” Someone took his statement seriously (not to mention in a crassly literal manner), and he was taken to court for intent to murder.
People these days, as shallow as a birdbath, don’t seem to understand the nature of figurative language. But there are some places where we should take our statements very seriously indeed.
“It is a snare to say rashly, ‘It is holy,’ and to reflect only after making vows,” (Proverbs 20:25, ESV).
What the Wise Man is referring to here is the all too human tendency, when in dire straits and desperation to offer something — anything — in order to be delivered from some sticky situation. We are reminded to take these vows seriously, not rashly.
Every Sunday Christians make promises, rather lightly I am afraid, when they sing songs about commitment to God and the need to change their lives. When you sing “O how I love Jesus,” you dare not sing these words meaninglessly. When you sing “King of my life, I crown thee now,” you cannot sing that without intending to carry out its terms!
A promise to God is the most serious undertaking a person will take in his life. Yet, so often we take these commitments flippantly, offhandedly. God is not our good buddy; he is the Lord of all creation. When you promise him your life, mean it!
–Stan Mitchell @ www.forthright.net