Will God forgive us when we break our promise not to sin?

Question:  Hey! I have a question I have been  wanting to know for awhile now and I was wondering if you could answer it?  Okay, so does God still love you and forgive you even if you have made a promise to stop committing a certain sin but then you break that promise? Will he still love and forgive you after you’ve broken that promise and you still keep making the same mistakes?

Answer:  I suppose we could ask ourselves if we would still love our child after he or she promises over and over to stop doing something wrong.  And even if we would answer yes, we would have to recognize that God’s love for us is even greater than a parent’s love for his child.  I like the passage in Psalm 103:13,14, which says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

It is Jesus who taught us that we should love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) in order to have as perfect a love as the Father has (verse 48).  And Paul tells us that when we were still God’s enemies, still sinners, God proved His love for us by letting Jesus die for us (Romans 5:8).  And Jesus taught Peter that if someone sins against him seventy-seven times he must forgive that person.  So it is impossible that God would not do as well or better than what He instructs us to do.  In fact, Romans 8 makes it perfectly clear that for the one who has trusted in Jesus for salvation there is no condemnation (8:1) and that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love (8:37-39).

We are perfectly safe in God’s love.  But because He loves us so much and because we love Him in return, we want to experience obedience to Him as a token of our love.  And we want to trust Him that the commands He has given us are for our own protection and welfare.  So when we recognize that our own promises to do better fail it might be time to try some additional aids to obedience.  For example, it may be that a trusted counselor could help you see a pattern to your disobedience and help you break that pattern.  Or it might be helpful to have someone to whom you are accountable and who will pray for you and encourage you toward obedience.  Or it might be useful to memorize some Scriptures that pertain to the particular disobedience you are struggling with.  Or all of the above. 

God longs for us to have freedom in our conscience before Him.  That is why Jesus came (Hebrews 9:14; 10:22).  That is why we can come to His throne boldly whenever we have need and find grace (Hebrews 4:16).

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49 thoughts on “Will God forgive us when we break our promise not to sin?

    • Hi im 15 years old.im trying all my best to be the perfect child to God and also trying my best to get close to him,but i promised God alot of things ,my uncle which is a pastor said that i could tell God that i couldnt keep ii so i did,after that i made another promise but i dnt want to cancel them cause i know that when God prromise me something he never breaks but i just keep breaking my promise and now i feel a heavy thing in my heart,when i think that God does not love or he will punish i start to become sad i cant sleep honestly o dont really know what to do with my life pls help me

      • God does take it very seriously when we make a promise and when we break it. But that is not the determiner of whether He loves you or not. Have you given your life to Jesus Christ to be your rescuer from the guilt of your sin? If you have come to Jesus for forgiveness and acknowledged your inability to be all that God wants you to be, trusting in Jesus alone to save you, you are forgiven and God will never hold your sins against you.

        But you need to stop making promises you will not keep. Try instead to find a spiritual mentor who can help you make the changes you want or need to make in your life. A promise is not enough to keep you from sinning. You need to learn the Word of God and His principles for life change.

  1. Pingback: SALVATION « Inspired Ministries

  2. as one who has promised broke that promise sufffered a stroke thinking i had made god angry at me only to realise that god knew id break that promise befor i even made it yes he still loves me just as christ still loved peter even after he denied him 3 times

  3. I made a promise to god that im not gonna smoke cigarrete anymore, so i did for almost 2 yrs and honestly i am not a smoker im just playing of it… But then at the party my 6 yr old boy, try to stop him not running around and he didnt listen to me, so i feel mad and tense and i ask my friend if she have a cigarrete and she give me one stick, and after i smoke the cigarette i toldto my friend that I made a promise to god not to smoke anymore, until now, just cant sleep, and scared that god will punishme and never forgive me… Please help me, i feel so guilty and scared if god mad at me!

    • The reason God wanted you to quit is because it is very unhealthy to smoke. He loves you. NO, He doesn’t want you to promise something and then break that promise, but He is more than willing to forgive you. Wouldn’t you be willing to forgive your son if he promised never to run around again but then in a moment of forgetfulness or excitement did it again? Of course you would and so does our loving heavenly Father want to forgive us when we come to Him and tell Him we are sorry.

    • Assuming both promises were in agreement with the revealed will of God in Scripture, or not contradictory to it, I suppose you would keep the one that brought the most advantage to the most people and the most honor to God. Then I suppose you would learn not to make promises unless you know you can keep them.

  4. Feeling so far away from God hearing me. I have broken many promises that I really thought I would keep. Feeling broken. My sins r so many, I have known the “truth” for yrs. And their is no excuse..I keep trying to have faith that I will overcome and still be a child of God, knowing obiedence is key, I understand its not by my works, but also know faith without works is dead….feeling like a hopeless case…..asking for intervining prayers cause I want to get better and truly not be a hyprocritical,lazy so called follower….want to be away from all of this and truly hear Gods voice.

      • Dear Sir, I came across this site while researching and started reading the questions and answers. I read Jennifer’s post above and even though it has been over 2 years….my heart ached for her. I see no other updates and was wondering if she followed up with you….If so I just want to make sure she is now o.k. Either way….for whatever reason she is on my heart and I pray she found the answers she so desperately was searching for….answers and peace only our Lord can give. I will pray for Jennifer…..and although I may never know how she is doing now….God knows and He knows her needs, He knows it all and He is always, always faithful. Thank you and God bless

      • Perhaps she will see this post and know that you are praying for her and care. Sometimes people respond in a less public way by emailing me and I would honor such by not sharing that in a public forum. But we are all free to share our hearts in this forum and let one another know we are praying and concerned. Sometimes people will also offer answers to others in this forum and sometimes I will share those if they are helpful. Thank you for your concern for Jennifer.

  5. i have made promis to god fordefully by my mother “that i wont talk to my boyfriend again”.i vowed to god.But i cant live without him and talking to him.so i broke my promise to him.will god punish me for this and seperate us both for it.

    • God disciplines those who are His children to help us become more loving and obedient. Jesus has taken all our punishment on the cross. I don’t know for sure what you mean by making a promise to God forcefully (did your mother make you make this promise?). That could render the promise somewhat suspect. But if you made it to God then in your own mind you are breaking your word with God. I don’t know what discipline He will use to bring you to repentance. You can repent by trying to understand why your mother is so concerned you don’t talk to this boyfriend. The fact that you say you can’t live without him is disturbing. This does not sound like a healthy relationship. Please try to see what your mother is seeing, and be willing to talk to healthy friends and elders who can give you guidance. Many young men and women have made their lives miserable by entering unwisely into romantic relationships. The truly healthy way to enter any relationship is with a view to pleasing God and seeing a partnership that helps you fulfill God’s commission to you, the Great Commission. This means, normally, that there needs to be a spiritual compatibility between a man and woman considering partnership. They need to be pulling in the same direction. Does this boyfriend encourage you to live for the Lord? Does he want you to rebel against your mother or even God? Please consider going with your mother to a pastor to discuss these issues.

  6. hi sir actualy ill promise on god that i didnt want 2 call my boyfriend again.but i cant control myself n my feeling.ill call n talk with her.but i feel scared is it god will punish me or anything happen 2 me..

    • This is not a question that can be answered by someone far away. You need to sit down with a fellow believer, preferably a pastor, and walk through what is going on in your life. Ask for prayer from other Christians to work through the issues and expect God to show you the right path.

  7. Hi,my question is about vows. last month I injured my finger joints by hitting the key board too hard for a few hours while playing runescape (an online game). My joints hurt for a week after that. I was worried that I had repetitive strain injury. I promised that I would never play the game again if God healed my hand Immediately. The pain was lessened a bit, and was completely Gone by the end of the day.

    It’s been a month and I want to play game really badly. Will I be punished if I play it.

    • I would not use the word “punish” for believers. Christ has taken our punishment. If we are His children God disciplines us in love to help us become what we need to become. He may indeed discipline you. You made a vow or promise to Him, and yes, it may have been an unwise promise, but you made it nonetheless. Don’t go back to playing the game. Take it as evidence that He did not want you to play it and still doesn’t. Find some other way to use your time that makes a difference for the kingdom. I’m not saying no to any entertainment, but look for ways to use what was meaningless in the big picture of things, that is, your time spent playing the game, and give it to Him. See what He would like you to experience as part of your growth in the way of Jesus.

      • Thank you sir, for your prompt answer. It Really frustrates me not to be able to play the game, but what you’ve said makes sense. I shall find better things to do with my time and see what happens (:

      • It’s been a more than a year since I’ve played Runescape. The urge is still there, but it’s easier to ignore now. The best thing that happened since I stopped was that I have become closer to my mom and am able to help around the house more often as I am not occupied with playing the game. My sleeping patterns are back to normal as well as I no longer stay up the whole night playing Runescape. All praise and glory be to God who has helped me overcome. 🙂

  8. Dear pastor, I got married since 8years but I have no kids. So I went for prayer one pastor prayed for me but he told me to make a vow that if i will be blessed with a child then I will give that child to jesus. 1st time I remained silent but when pastor told me second time to make that vow I also told that unwillingly because I knew that I can not fulfil that promise because in my home no-one is believing jesus expect me. My husband also opposes me to pray to God. So child will not be mine only so it is impossible for me to keep that vow fulfilled.i had not make that vow voluntarily but still I am afraid of it that jesus angry with me and will punish me and will not give me child. Please pastor let me know that if we make promise by force of others and unable to keep that promise will jesus punish us for this. Pls reply me as I can not sleep
    Thanking you
    Rasmita das

    • Yes, if you are pushed into a vow it is not valid. It is also not clear what the pastor meant by giving your child to Jesus. You seem to believe it meant that somehow you would get to raise this child as a follower of Jesus, and perhaps that is what he meant, but you don’t have control over that. Please, sleep well, and ask the Lord what He expects of you living in the situation you are in and how, if possible, you can bear testimony to Him while submitting to your husband.

      • Thank you so much sir, I was in great agony. First of all I am not blessed with a child yet now and other this promise made me restless. So thank you very much for your reply. Yes I will give testimony of jesus that Lord give me a child and I made this vow by my own and I will definitely do it
        Praise the Lord

  9. Hi, I promised to God that I will give 30% of my earnings to the church.. Is it okay to ask God not to continue my promise? Please help me.

    • Why was this vow made in the first place? Did God do something for you in response to your vow? The Bible tells us that our vows and the keeping of them are a reflection of the character of God. When we break our vow it suggests that God is not one to keep His word since vows were made in His name (“I swear by the God of Heaven that I will…”). Is God not providing for you? Why do you want to stop the vow now?

    • I’m sorry I took so long to reply. I must have accidentally overlooked your question. It is not okay to discontinue your promise. I’m not sure why you promised to give so much, but I am wondering if God has blessed you commensurate with how much you are giving. If so, it would make sense to continue giving that much in addition to the fact that you promised to do so. If you must discontinue your promise because you are not able to make your bills or have enough to eat, provide shelter or clothe yourself, then you must confess to God that your vow was a foolish one and that you are not able to trust Him to provide for you in your needs. Ask His forgiveness and do your best to stay away from vows. James 5:12, But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

  10. hi,i promised to god that i wont watch a porn but every time i end up with breaking my promise and afterwards i feel regret of it.this happened several times.does god punish me for this and will he forgive me if i change myself

    • Yes, He will forgive you, but what you are learning from this experience is that simply vowing not to do something so compelling and addictive is not a sufficient path toward obedience. You need a fellowship of believers with whom you can be transparent about this (James 5:16) and you need the accountability that comes with such a friendship. And in addition to this you need to find out why worship of the Lord is not more compelling than the self-gratification you find such a draw. You don’t need to kill your sexual desire, but it needs to be mastered and not the master. It will also be helpful to create a barrier to access to pornography, including a filter on all your internet accessible devices and a program like Covenant Eyes to make it harder for you go to problematic sites.

  11. Hi,

    I am a born again believer who believes in the redemption of the blood of Christ and that He is the only way to eternal life.

    I asked God when I was in my teens if he wanted me to marry or not to marry. I made this promise when I was sheltered and homeschooled (wouldn’t change the experience regardless), so I know I was naive. However, I asked for His guidance and just so happen to open to the passage when Paul said better not to give into marriage etc. I can’t remember if I even made a vow that I would not marry but it does concern me that I may have done so. If I marry, could I be breaking a possible vow I made? I know I’m mature enough now to know the promise was silly. Also, another pastor said that if you struggle with lust, you may need to marry when he discussed this same passage. I feel like God may want me to marry but I don’t want to disobey a vow I may have made. Please give me your thoughts.

    • In the Old Testament if a wife made a vow her husband could disavow it and if his child made one he could annul it as leader of his family (Numbers 30:1-14). You were a minor and no one asserted that you made a vow so as to annul it or not, and even you don’t know if you made a vow. And your pastor is right, Paul indicates that having the gift of celibacy includes being able to control one’s lust and be able to be free of the need to marry. But if you really desire to be married Paul says that is your gift and you are free to marry. I don’t think you were able to make a good decision about that in your teen years. Examine what your real gift is, either to be married or remain unmarried, and rest in God’s grace and understanding about any supposed vow as a minor.

  12. So i recently had a major break up with my boyfriend, and we ended bad, but deep down we both know we still love each but he is scared because he made a promise to god that he will not be in a relationship for a long time. Do you think god will forgive him if we were to get back together? We want to follow god, we both want him in our lives. We are just scared.

    • There is forgiveness for every sin repented of, but it is dangerous to our souls to deliberately sin. I don’t know what your boyfriend promised God or how long he promised it, but if he goes against his promise to God he is deliberately hardening his heart and it is hard to come to repentance when that is the case. Why did he promise this and what would time teach you both about this relationship and more importantly about God? If he can’t keep his word to God how will he keep his word to you?

  13. i have unprotected intercoursed with my gf and i was worried that she will be pregnant. . so i went in a hanuman temple and promised god that plzz god she wouldn’t be pregnent this time plzz god.. and promised that i will never do this thing means sex with any girl before marriage. and then she dont get pregnent.
    But now i want to sex.. what to do…
    what i promise to god and what i say to god …

    • What you should say to God is, “God, I am a selfish man who makes promises to you when I am scared but is unwilling to fulfill them when I am out of trouble. You are a convenience to me God, not my Master and Lord. You have made it plain to us that our sexual drives are not to rule us but that You are. You made sex to be a beautiful part of marriage but I want to enjoy it without the commitment of marriage, no matter what happens to my girlfriend. I am a selfish, selfish man. Please, Lord, help me to submit my will to yours and find in Jesus the Messiah my salvation for all my sinful ways. Help me to understand that He died in my place, for my selfishness and rebellion, so that I might have life with You as a free gift. I humbly receive Your free gift of eternal life as I repent of my disloyalty to You.”

      • sir u said that i say to god again that i m selfish and no matter what happens to my gf.. how can i say that … i love her and dont want to give her any hurt .. u know.. why i promised above thing last time cause i love her and dont want to see her in pain…. so if i say that i m selfis and no matter with gf then god will do something to my gf…

      • God is not after your girlfriend as much as He is after you. You asked me what you should say to God and I am encouraging you to repent of your selfish attitude and of your willingness to use her for sex even if it gets her pregnant, and to repent of your willingness to use God for your own convenience, being willing now to break your vow to Him after He delivered you. Do not trifle with Him and do not trifle with your girlfriend. Repent, my friend, and stop rationalizing your behavior.

  14. Growing as a believer And a weak conscience I thought some things were sin that now I know better are not sins. I promised God I won’t commit those sins again that I thought were sins but now I know are not sins. I don’t kniw am I still accountable for those vows?

    • It is possible that now with your new knowledge, since you understand that what you vowed not to do is not a sin, you do not need to keep this vow. In effect, what you vowed you will still be keeping in that you vowed not to sin by doing whatever it was because the intent was not to sin. But you are not sinning by doing this, so you are keeping the vow in that sense. Ask the Lord what He wants you to do and whether He believes you have honored your vow and watch and listen for His answer.

  15. Praise in jesus name.from malaysia,here i want ask i have made promise with jesus if my boyfriend take drugs i wont take togheter with him if i take break my relantionship with my boyfriend and until die dont let me meet back my boyfriend and save our relantionship,i forget about the promise and take drugs with him now as i told you god fulfil the words i say if i take drugs break my relantionship with biyfriend and now our relantionship break ready and i dono what he doing now also.father i ask forgive with jesus daily am crying n begging and ask sorry for break my promise but until now jesus punnish me..will i get forgiveness from jesus because i break promise?will jesus again hear my prayers and help me?i never do anything from my bottom heart,jesus only must make my boyfriend go in jesus way amen.

  16. Praise un jesus name.father am from malaysia,here i want ask i have made promise with jesus if my boyfriend take drugs i wont take togheter with him if i take break my relantionship with my boyfriend,i forget about the promise and take drugs with him now as i told you god fulfil the words i say if i take drugs break my relantionship with boyfriend and dont let me and my boyfriend meet until am die.father i ask forgive with jesus daily am crying n begging and ask sorry for break my promise but until now jesus punnish me..will i get forgiveness from jesus because i break promise?will jesus again hear my prayers and help me?will jesus forgive me because my break promise,will jesus again make me and boyfriend save in right way?i promise because dont want repeat the mistake but i break rdy promise and god also take away ready my boyfriend,pastor please ans me jesus will again forgive me and make my boyfriend ascpet me back?

    • Yes, Jesus hears your prayers and forgives your sin because you have confessed to Him and 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we do that He forgives and cleanses us from all iniquity. You have damaged your heart by sinning this way but God is able to bring you to wholeness as you trust Him. I cannot answer as to whether He will make your boyfriend accept you back or not. Perhaps so, but perhaps God is putting you in a place to re-evaluate this relationship and whether it is a good one for your or not. Please seek the counsel of someone you trust who will help you evaluate from God’s perspective if this is a relationship He approves. If not, you may need to make a break from it in your heart and seek the Lord for how you need to grow spiritually. Even if so, however, this does not guarantee God will return him to you. Listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to you.

      • Yes am always believing in jesus christ,this time am worried because i only promise to jesus if am not fullfill as am promise break my relantionship with my boyfriend and dont let him meet me and save our relantionship until die,but when i cant keep my promise as i ask him,jesus also already bring me far from him and i dono what he do and everthng.now am ask forgiveness with jesus from my bottom heart and keep back my relantionship with boyfriend.after this i wont ever promise to jesus and do whatever jesus christ no like i try to follow..before this many times i and my boyfriend break up when i pray only he will come back to me,and am believing if he not for me jesus wont bring him back to me before this all..again am pray to jesus atleast this time make our relantionship strong and dont ever again bring far my boyfriend away frm me.

  17. I promis to god 2 tyms that i will never use whats apk…i never used whtsapk for 4 momth but i said to go to take care of me n my family but suddnly smthing very wrong happen with me nd then in angr nd ehen i see how this happen to me…then i broke promiss i used whtsap after that but only for 3hr…then deleted my account…nd today also i open it for something important but only for 2 hr so can god punished me for that or forgive me…but its not mean that i donnt respect god .i love him .god n my parents is everything for me…but i fell guilt now…plss help me.

    • Yes, God will forgive you. You are guilty of breaking your vow to Him and you need to confess that and be forgiven (1 John 1:9). But stop making such vows. Instead, ask the Lord to help you live the way you should and relentlessly pursue honesty with Him about all you are feeling and doing and thinking. Keep your heart completely open to Him and watch how this transforms you.

  18. Pls help me out.. I made a promise to God not to commit a particular sin and that if I did it, He should not give me something that I asked for.. But I’ve broken the promise and I’m really sorry about it. Pls will God forgive me and still grant my request if I keep to the promise this time around?

  19. Pls help me out.. I made a promise to God not to commit a particular sin and that if I did it, He should not give me something that I asked for.. But I’ve broken the promise and I’m really sorry about it. Pls will God forgive me and still grant my request if I keep to the promise this time around?

    • God will certainly forgive you but I don’t know that He will grant your request. It may be that He will follow through with your vow or promise and bring that consequence. He is a good Father and knows best how to shape you in the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus. So trust Him in this matter. And, perhaps, stop making such promises. That is not the way to obedience and growth. Instead, make time with Him every day and really connect with Him in a personal way through Scripture reading and prayer. Really talk to him about everything in your life and be open to listening to Him. Ask Him to expand your heart for obedience and watch what He does in you.

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