“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (Romans 2:1, NIV)
An inward vow is a negative decision that one takes, based on something negative that may have happened in their life. It stems from passing judgment on others because they offended or hurt you vowing never to do what they did. The danger in making such negative vows is that you may end up doing exactly the same thing (if not worse) as the one who inspired you to take such a vow. For example, if your father was wealthy but refused to take care of you, you may end up vowing to never be like your father, but you would rather be a better parent than your father was. You must never make such a statement! It is a negative inward vow because the motivating factor for the making of such a decision is itself negative. Such inward vows, as a result, would work against you in life, and before you realize it, you may find yourself doing the same thing you vowed not to do or worse.
Never take a decision in life based on someone’s negative character trait; you are only causing inward wounds for yourself, and those inward wounds weaken your spirit. If you should be inspired to make a decision, let it be because of something positive you saw, and not because of a negative trait you saw. Just commit your ways to the Lord and do not be negatively inspired.
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” (Ephesians 4:26). Be angry about the negative situation, but do not add sin to it by taking a negative vow. It is wrong for you to say, “I will never be like…” Rather what you should say is, “I will be…” Look at what you want to achieve, not at what you do not want to be. Thus Paul, the apostle, asserts in Philippians, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14). What you should always look ahead to is what must be done to attain!
Understand that man is fallible; offences will by all means come, but do not hold onto such offences. Be one who readily forgives. In actual fact, if you live with people and offences never rise up amongst you, then something is wrong. “Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” (Matthew 18:7). Notice in the scripture that Jesus said that offences MUST come. People will always offend you, but do not hold them to ransom for the wrongs they perpetrate against you. “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:16).
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34). Do not build a negative virtue in you because of somebody’s negative character; you are destroying your own spirit. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8). The things that should inspire the decisions you take in life should be things that are noble, lovely to think on, etc., as stated in the preceding scripture. Be a believer with a difference. Shalom!