16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,

a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,

feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies

and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
Proverbs 6:16-19

God has used this passage more than once to keep me from doing something displeasing to Him. The first verse gets me – The Lord hates, he detests these things. When tempted to do one of them, that verse comes to mind and I think “Do I really want to do something the Lord detests?” I usually decide that I really don’t want to put myself in that camp.

Let’s look at the 7 things He detests?

Haughty eyes. Some versions translate this as “a proud look.” According to the Amplified Bible, this is a “the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others.” Have you looked at others with disdain? If so, you are guilty of this offense. I know that I have. There is plenty in God’s Word that speaks against pride and it is pride that is at the root of this sin.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18

It is to our benefit and the Lord’s glory for us to keep our pride in check. It starts with that haughty look, that “better than thou” attitude that creeps into our thoughts and actions. Lord, give us Your thoughts about each person we meet.

A lying tongue. God detests lies. Even white lies. Even exaggerations that make us look better than we really are. What’s your resume look like? Is it honest? How did you present yourself when discussing a conversation with a third party? Did you make yourself out to be better than you really were as you presented your side? I work hard at being honest, but some situations present challenges. As I write marketing literature for our company, I am challenged to be compelling and honest. When faced with disappointing someone, the temptation is great to make up an excuse when the truth is simply that I want to do something else. Lord, give us such a love for the Truth that we detest lying as much as You do.

Hands that shed innocent blood. OK, so I haven’t been tempted to murder anyone lately, but Jesus took murder several steps further:

21“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘RacaRaca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Matthew 5:21-22

RacaRaca is a Greek word that means “worthless one.” Have you called anyone (even in your heart) a fool lately? Perhaps the person in front of you at the grocery store or the parents down the block who let their children run wild? Do you see the relationship between this and “haughty eyes.” Both have pride at their root – you know better than the one you are condemning. Lord, help us to value others and the gifts You have placed in them.

A heart that devises wicked schemes. Have you plotted the downfall of your lazy coworker, overbearing boss, church troublemaker or neighborhood gossip lately? I hope not. I’m not saying that these people shouldn’t be dealt with appropriately. They should. The key word is appropriately. Not by devising wicket schemes. Not by devising situations in which they are exposed harmfully. Allow God to bring about situations that render justice. Lord, enable us to turn all situations over to you and not harbor wickedness in our heart.

Feet that are quick to rush into evil. Is there an area in which you are quick to desire and rush into things that do not honor God? I’m convinced that some practical jokes would fall into this category. Some are harmless and funny, but our culture has an edge to it and what would have been considered hurtful in the past is now accepted by many as practical jokes. If you are a practical joker, be careful to keep your pranks on the right side of the line. Lord, help us to bring our fun side under the control of Your Holy Spirit.

A false witness who pours out lies. Isn’t this the same as a lying tongue? It would seem so, but God takes special interest to say that He detests lying about the actions of another person. Whether that person is guilty or innocent, our responsibility is to speak honestly about their actions. When we are a wronged party, that can be pretty challenging. When the person is unpopular, perhaps even because of their own actions, it’s important to speak truthfully. Our sinful nature is tempted to exaggerate the wickedness of people who have not been kind to us. Doing so is the same as being a false witness. Lord, help us to be discerning and to speak only Truth.

A man who stirs up dissension among brothers. When someone has wronged you, are you tempted to tell others about it? That’s stirring up dissension. When church isn’t going as you think it should be or the pastor makes a decision that you disagree with, are you tempted to talk to others about how wrong the Pastor is? That’s stirring up dissension. At work do you join others in complaining about the boss or decisions that management is making? That’s stirring up dissension. We live in such a society of complaining! I hate it, but confess that I am not immune to it. It is sometimes so tempting to answer the “how are you doing” with a list of complaints about life. Sometimes the Lord brings this verse to mind and I wonder what there would be to talk about if we didn’t complain about life as we know it. The Lord brings the answer – the goodness and blessings of God. It doesn’t fit into our culture, but we’re called to be counter-culture. Lord, help me to resist the urge to stir up dissension and to enter conversations where others are complaining with grace. Lord, let me bring You into all situations.

And therein lies the answer to avoiding all the sins: Bringing the Lord into all situations. Asking for His grace to live and act in His ways.

I am confident that you didn’t find yourself in all seven of these sins that the Lord detests, but I suspect you might have found temptation in some of them. I know that I do. By God’s grace, they are all less tempting than they were twenty-five years ago when I first discovered this verse. I had a boss who was asking me to lie to an auditor. I knew it was wrong but I didn’t want to lose my job. The morning after the discussion with my boss I read these verses. I knew I could not lie. Shortly thereafter I chose to quit the job and God gave me a better one. He is faithful to those who follow Him. As we mature in Him, though, the definition of sin takes on a finer edge as He continues to conform us to the image of Christ.

Blessings, friends. May God continue to conform you to the wonderful, truthful image of Christ who is full of grace and mercy.

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