I have a question about the keeping of inner vows and promises made to God. Before I become a WELS church member, I attended very fundamentalist churches. During this time, I vowed to God that I would not play cards. The fundamentalist churches look down on all card playing due to its past associations with gambling. I made this vow because I really enjoyed card games, but was made to feel that it was an evil activity. Now, I have come to realize this was a legalistic understanding that I had, kind of like the Pharisees who added extra rules not found in the Scriptures. I would like to be able to enjoy non-gambling card games with my family as a way to build our family relationships. My question is, am I bound under this vow I made to God, or may I confess it as sinful and foolish, made in an incorrect understanding, and be at liberty to enjoy playing cards with my family? I feel that Jesus' teaching in Mathew 5 indicates we should avoid vows, and I feel that this vow was foolish. Can I be released from it? Thank you for your counsel.
It sounds like you made a promise to refrain from an activity that you called sinful but God did not. Now that you see things differently, and correctly, it is not wrong for you to engage in that activity.
Christian freedom is precious (Galatians 5:1). We do not want others to take away our freedom, nor do we want to deprive it of ourselves.
Since prayer is conversation with God, share your thoughts with God about your former and present thoughts regarding card playing. Then, live in the peace and freedom Christ won for you.