I was struggling with how to relate and interact with some people whom I am in relationship with lately and sharing that struggle with a friend. He said that he’s been thinking about similar situations in his own life and is convinced that “judgments lead to vows.” The idea is that we view behaviors in other people and whether those things are right or wrong. From there we make a decision, in effect a vow, regarding how we view that person.
The crossover in the process described is from behavior to identity. We cease interaction based in personal connection and operate from agreements with previously determined ways we will act and react. The agreements (vows) are the most insidious part of the equation.
The idea of making a vow seems benign enough, but is it? A vow is a solemn promise or commitment in agreement with another party. In effect, it’s making a deal or operating from a contract. Who is the deal with in this case? Whose interests are being affirmed by the deal we make? The answer isn’t good.
When we make an inner vow to treat people in a certain way based in the judgements we have of them, we are making a deal with the devil himself.
God created that person and He loves them as much as He loves you or me. He didn’t create them for hurtful or destructive behaviors and, through the Blood of Jesus, He won’t see them through those bad choices either. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, God affords us the ability to be right with Him even after we have done things that grieve Him. He sees us for who we are, not what we’ve done.
The enemy of God, the devil, uses behaviors to define a person with no consideration of the grace of Jesus. The devil accuses us day and night (Revelation 12) but we overcome those accusations by the blood of Jesus, our testimony of His salvation in our lives and our willingness to lay down our lives for Him. We overcome and don’t stand defined by the things we have done. We are righteous in our identity instead of condemned by our mistakes.
A scheme of the enemy is to prompt offenses that lead to judgments and result in vows. The dysfunction, hurt and destruction escalates as we enter into the cycle of accusation, condemnation and conviction based on our justification based in behaviors and not true identity. Along the journey we feel fully justified as we point to Truth and misinterpret it as a rulebook instead of an invitation.
This is the root of prejudice. Prejudice is pre-judgment. It is based in vows we make and sometimes we aren’t even consciously aware we are making them. Our justification is based in ourselves (pride) and our efforts to protect and promote ourselves. The whole things is meant for our destruction as much as it is theirs. These things can be about race and other labels but it can just as easily about your own family. The solution is to cease agreement with the accuser and come into agreement with the Redeemer.