I've wondered about the whole making vows to God thing for a while due to a time back in February 2005 when i was 13 years old, closing in on 14 years old, where I had bought Grand Theft Auto 3 for the PC, and when i did i felt some sort of fear that if i told my church that they'd shame me and stuff so i threw the game away and ran to my prayer closet and asked God to forgive me for getting the game and then promised never to play GTA again.
Now, my history with GTA goes back to February 2003, when i first saw the game in action at a friends house and thought the concept of being able to run around and do what you will was pretty cool, so for my Birthday in March 2003, i got a PS2 along with a memory card, and Grand Theft Autos 3 and Vice City.
Needless to say, I had a blast playing the game, but deep down inside, i was questioning whether i should keep playing the game, and every day i went to sunday school, i would ask the teacher whether or not i should play the games anymore, and she said that as long as it didn't come before God, i should be fine.
However, I was very obsessed with the game at the time and at school through the rest of my 6th grade and all my 7th grade years, 95% of the stuff coming out of my mouth was stuff relating to GTA. If someone angered me, I would start wishing life was GTA so i could beat them up without consequences(via the wanted level cheat). A year's worth of talk about stealing cars and the other stuff in GTA did get me negative attention from the counselors who were worried that GTA might be growing too much on me.
Then, in February 2004, I discovered this one song on GTA Vice City called 2 minutes to Midnight by Iron Maiden, which I had been listening to in game, but when i saw the lyrics, i would concentrate on those lyrics and think on them, which wasn't a good thing at all, as it made me rebellious towards God for the next 4 months and i would blame every bad grade I got on a test on God trying to curse my work and as such i'd tell my classmates that I was going to invoke Satan's help in a bid(in reality i wasn't studying due to spending countless hours playing GTA and listening to the rock songs on it, which most contained Satanic lyrics such as the 2 Minutes to Midnight one) and then started drawing Pentagrams and stuff on my binders, whereas in the fall of 2003 i had been drawing Christian symbols and stuff on my binders, which further worried the teachers and my fellow students.
Well, in July of 2004 I went to a 5-day church camp and repented of my rebellion towards God, and the guy who prayed with me told me to get rid of my GTA games, which i did.
And so i was GTA-free until February 2005, where i thought i was strong enough to handle GTA, so i got it again and threw it away after my conscience bit me and thats where i made the whole promise to God thing.
Fastforward to Summer 2006, i again wanted to get the GTA games, so i turned to a passage of scripture that i hoped would be a way to nullify the promise to God i made concerning GTA, which was Leviticus 27 which talked about how if someone vowed something to God and then decided wanted it back that they could give 120% of its monetary value to the priest, so if it was worth $50 they would give $60 to the priest, for an example. Even though it does mention things that if devoted to the Lord, couldn't be redeemed. So i used that as a way out and got GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas and took the total, added the extra 20%, and gave it to my church.
Basically, i payed more than double the price, and when i would play them, my conscience would STILL bite, so in order to calm it down, i would go crazy in witnessing for God by spamming random forums on the internet(forums that didn't even require registration) about how if they didn't turn to Christ how they'd face God's wrath on Judgment Day, which did provide some relief but didn't solve the whole thing.
So i threw them away AGAIN.
So i waited 3 years, and then come April 2009 I decided i was strong enough to handle GTA, so i went and rented GTA Chinatown Wars for the DS and GTA 4 for the PS3. I didn't have much conscience problems concerning Chinatown wars, but when i played GTA 4 for the PS3, my conscience came rushing back to bite me again concerning that promise i made to God in 2005.
The verse that has given me the most trouble on this whole matter is Ecclesiastes 5:4-7, which states :
" When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?"
Which if i read correctly, if you make a vow/promise to God, EVEN a rash vow, is binding for life. Another thing in the Bible that i see as supporting that position is when Jephthah rashly vowed to sacrifice to the Lord whatever he first saw when he returned home if the Lord allowed him to win the battle, and of course as the story goes his daughter is the first one to come out and then the vow comes back to bite him as now he's forced to kill his daughter to fulfill the vow.
So since i guess no matter what you're superglued to a vow for life, how am i going to go about getting rid of my desire for the Grand Theft Auto/Saints Row games? I know Saints Row wasn't out when I made the promise to God, but i presume that the vow would cover any "hip and gangsta" sandbox game that involved the stuff GTA involves.
So how do I go about no longer desiring GTA?