A vow is a type of communication in which a promise is made to correct a wrong committed when the circumstances make it possible.
In the book of James, the author writes concerning a person that is having a mental issue due to them wronging someone else.
And the vow of the faith will save the mentally weary and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has done a sin, it will be forgiven him – James 5:15.
Unlike the previous sickness (ἀσθενέω), which is a physical aliment that a person was to call the elders of the assembly to communicate in worship and anoint them, this type of sickness (κάμνω) involves a weariness of the mind. It is used in exhortation for us to not become mentally weary or discouraged in our souls when facing persecution by considering Christ who endures such hostility from sinners against us, Hebrews 12:3. In the book of Revelation, the assembly of Ephesus is commended for bearing up and being patient against those who claim to be apostles that were not, for they labored for Christ’s sake and did not become mentally weary, Revelation 2:3.
When James talks about the vow of faith, there is the possibility of a sin being involved. However, remember not all wrong is sin; nevertheless, it is always an aspect of unrighteousness, which also has a negative impact on us and others. It is important to only call an action sin that God calls sin. Sin is specifically defined in 1 John 3:4 as an act of lawlessness. However, unrighteousness is the bigger term and can involve acts that are not in and of themselves sinful, but are still wrong, 1 John 5:17. As sons of God we are to train our senses to discern between what is proper and what lacks in character (wrong), Hebrews 5:14. Often it is the lacking in character that we do that negatively impacts others. Like not standing up for someone, or not assisting them when we had the means. Since we are to do good to all, and love the brethren, failing to do this can cause us mental weariness because we know we failed to do what is proper. This is when a vow of faith comes in to correct the issue. And also, if a sin was actually committed, because we knowingly acted in a lawless manner, the sin will be forgiven. Therefore, to recover from a mental weariness caused by our actions that negatively impacted others, when communicating a vow of faith, if sin is involved then we may also involve confession of sin in our prayer, for when we agree with God concerning our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us of that sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness as we walk by the truth, 1 John 1:8-9.
Therefore, when a person vows to correct a wrong they did that is causing them weariness in their mind because of their failure to do what was proper and the negative impact it had on others, it is a commitment that is not to be taken lightly, and if the opportunity is given, full restitution according to the vow is to be made. For it is through this vow of faith that the mental weariness is lifted.