[reprinted from November 9, 2009]
— Henry Neufeld
16There are six things the Lord hates,
Seven that are abominations to his very being:
Hands pouring out innocent blood.
18A mind fashioning wicked plans,
Feet running toward evil,
19Breath carrying falsehood,
Anyone who sends out strife between brothers. â€” Proverbs 6:16-19 (HN)
I have a survey idea. Iâ€™d like to ask a representative sample of church goers what the things are that God hates, really hates, in fact, considers to be abominations. Iâ€™m guessing that we would get many different answers. Iâ€™m fairly sure that sexual sins would be fairly close to the top of the list. And there certainly are sexual sins that are listed as abominations in scripture.
Yet here in this list in Proverbs, the things that God hates are a bit different. Look at these items:
Haughty eyes â€“ which we could call, with the CEV, being â€œtoo proud.â€ Pride goes before a fall, and pride is underlying most other sins. Paul uses the phrase â€œnot think of yourself more highly than you ought (Romans 12:3).â€ I can relate this to my â€œotherâ€ work in computers. If I announce that I can fix something, but I actually lack the knowledge, my downfall is coming soon. What I have to do is know my capabilities.
Lying tongue â€“ lying is almost a way of life, I think. We at least become very careless with the truth and we tolerate a great deal of lying in others. Yet it is an abomination.
Hands pouring out innocent blood â€“ hereâ€™s where we think weâ€™re safe, right? None of us are murderers. But wait! Jesus said that a murderous anger, murdering in your heart, was the same as murder. It certainly damages you. Oops! Maybe Iâ€™m not so safe from â€œabominationsâ€ after all!
A mind fashioning wicked plans â€“ I donâ€™t know whether this means they must be carried out or not. I would prefer to work on my tendency to fashion a revenge on someone, and then oh so righteously give it up because Iâ€™m such a good person. It seems that God doesnâ€™t see that as all that good.
Feet running toward evil â€“ which way are your feet pointing? If we ran away from evil more often, weâ€™d find temptation much weaker.
Breath carrying falsehood â€“ have you ever encountered someone who literally lived and breathed falsehood? Sometimes it seems their whole life is a lie. Itâ€™s nice to point it at someone else, isnâ€™t it? But if we start with the lying tongue, eventually our lives become just layer after layer of falsehood, and we â€œbreath out liesâ€ on a constant basis.
False testimony â€“ Wow! Did you notice how many of these deal with falsehood?
Anyone who sends out strife between brothers â€“ this one we like to point at others. When there is conflict it is always someone elseâ€™s fault. There are times when conflict is inevitable. Then you have to ask yourself this: â€œAm I creating the strife, or standing up for the right?â€ We always want to think weâ€™re just standing up for the right while the other guy is creating the strife. But thereâ€™s another element. This refers specifically to the person who creates a conflict between other people. It will generally lead right back to the sin of gossip, probably the most prevalent sin of the church.
How do we avoid all these abominations? Jesus summarized it: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself. Thatâ€™s what this passage says in a nutshell.