Black, White, and Grey


All the way back in the Garden of Eden, the Tempter began his seduction of Eve with the question, “Did God really say . . .”

We, as humans, have succumbed to infinite variations of this same question. But at the core, it is the same old, “Did God really say . . .”

As a result, we have a tendency to look for wiggle room in what God has made very clear in Scripture. We like to muddle black and white and make it grey to suit our fancy or perceived need for expediency.

What prompted this line if thinking is an ongoing discussion that I’ve had with regard to our responsibility to fulfill vows taken before God. In the denomination in which I worship, every officer takes vows before God to uphold the constitution of the church (Presbyterian Church in America).

Scripture in many places reinforces the idea that vows made to God are in a special category and those vows should be considered inviolable. For example, Moses provides these words from God concerning vows:

If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

Numbers 30:2 (ESV)

Yet I find some who would make the vow and then proceed to act in a way contrary to the constitution they vowed to uphold. Perhaps our culture says this is OK, but based on the verse quoted above, God does not.

I often wonder if the wives of the men that would so easily set aside their vows to God and their congregations would be OK with those men treating their marriage vows in the same manner.

Did God really say that when a vow is taken, it must be fulfilled to the fullest extent of our ability?

Yes, he did indeed say that. Some things are indeed black and white.