One Year Wisdom Challenge

How Christians Can Stay Off God’s Naughty List

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Wisdom Challenge #23

I love a good top ten list like, “Craziest Family Christmas Photos,” or “Worst Hairdo’s from the Eighties,” or “Top Ten Worst Excuses for Speeding.” Other lists are affirming like graduating in the top ten of your class or your business being on the top ten list for customer favorability. Lists can help us define what we want to aspire to and what we want to avoid at all costs. I think that’s why God puts a few lists in the Word.

In Proverbs 6:16-19, God inspires Solomon to create a list entitled, “Top Seven Things God Hates.”  For emphasis, before Solomon writes the list, God prompts him to add the word, “detests.” Wise people will take time to filter their thoughts, speech and behavior through these verses, not just read them and move on. I’ve got some ideas I’ve gathered from those wiser than me about how to process this passage but first, would you carefully read it?

There are six things the Lord hates—
    no, seven things he detests:
17 haughty eyes,
    a lying tongue,
    hands that kill the innocent,
18 a heart that plots evil,
    feet that race to do wrong,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
    a person who sows discord in a family.

Detests is a strong word.  Webster’s defines it as, “To feel intense and often violent antipathy toward; to loathe.”  Yikes. I think this list in Proverbs 6, is a window into the heart and mind of God the Father. When we look at the original language and intent of each item on the list, each one reveals a truth about God’s character. For me, some of these verses were a convicting mirror.

If we or people we care about, are engaged in any of this stuff, we are in dangerous waters, angering God. Remember, “hates,” and “detests.” Sin creates negative repercussions in my life and everyone around me. I. Will. Reap. What. I. Sow.

One way to look at this list is as a cumulative progression. The result of the first six behaviors is division between those who should be in unity whether it’s biological family, work family, or your family of brothers and sisters in Christ. Disunity makes us combat ineffective in spiritual battle. It’s like soldiers with their own agendas, not working in coordination. That goes about as well in spiritual battles as you can imagine it would in a military conflict. Is it any wonder the enemy has made strategic advances in our culture? Today, let’s ponder the first three in the list and in the next post look at the last four.

Why does God hate haughty eyes?

This is an easy sin to fall into. I’m seeing it everywhere right now, including the church. We are not respecting one another’s choices. We are looking down, with haughty eyes, at people who are making choices different than our own. God never does that.  He has placed into the universe the principle of free choice. God respects people’s decisions to reject his offer of salvation in Christ. He will try to win them over with love, but he will not argue anyone into salvation or strong arm them into his kingdom.

Yes, when people’s choices violate God’s laws, we must hold them accountable and there must be consequences for evil. Normal humans are usually in agreement that murder, theft, rape, etc. are intolerable for all of society. That’s not what I’m talking about here. We are looking down on one another over issues where there should be freedom of choice.  

Every time we roll our eyes, huff, judge or criticize others, we are looking down on them with haughty eyes. Nobody makes perfect choices all the time. We watch people every day make choices that we believe may bring negative consequences to them, but remember, they think we make some poor choices too. We can pray for people to gain wisdom and understanding when we think they are taking a wrong path. We take a sharp left off our own God-path though, when we start judging their choices.   

God warns us not to judge or criticize, the root cause of haughtiness. (Matthew 7:1-3, Romans 2:1-3) People might be living far below God’s standards but that is none of our business to judge. It is our role to pray, asking God to deal with their hearts and bring wisdom to their minds.It is up to God to judge and correct them unless we are in authority over them. Even then, correction done without love and respect, is crushing not life-giving.

Fundamentally, God hates haughty eyes because it means we are looking disdainfully at someone he created fearfully and wonderfully and to whom he gave the right to choose.  Watch your attitudes this week and see what happens inside you when you are around someone who you think is choosing poorly.  Frustration or grace? Kindness or criticism? Humility or pride? Judgement of them or sorrow and prayerfulness for them?

I’m urgently warning God-followers who are judging others in our highly politicized environment right now to stop it. Quiet yourself down in God’s presence dear brother or sister. Stop talking and listen. Confess, repent, renounce the sin of judgement and take authority over any demonic spirits that may have come close to you because you are involved in this sin. Tell them to leave. Ask God to fill that place in you that wants to judge, with his compassion and love.  Dear ones, we only squirrel up our own lives and those closest to us when we engage in behavior God hates.

Why does God hate lying tongues?

How did Satan corrupt the Garden of Eden? Lies.

How does he persuade Christians to sin and leave the righteous path? More lies.

How does he keep lost people from finding their way to Jesus? Continuous lies.

Lies are bondage. They create prisons. A liar must keep track of what lie he’s told to whom, when and where. Exhausting. I also don’t think God categorizes lies as we do, with some lies being acceptable. Jesus came to free us from hellish behavior like lying. Truth is freedom. Jesus said so. (John 8:32) A lie can alter the course of a life, a ministry, a family or a nation, enslaving people to false belief systems and paradigms. Lies create division and strife. God hates lying because it places people in bondage, the opposite of the freedom Christ purchased for humanity. Quietly listen to God and see if he identifies any area of your life where you are not being completely truthful.

Why does God hate the murder of innocents?

God’s nature is justice. (Isaiah 30:18) Injustice is abhorrent to him. Taking innocent lives is in direct opposition to the laws of justice God has placed into the universe. He is also a compassionate God. (Psalm 103:8, Psalm 116:5). The God who sees and cares when a sparrow falls from the sky is moved by our suffering and sorrows. Imagine the grief and anger of heaven through the millennia when innocents were slaughtered. The infanticide of Hebrew babies during Moses’ time and then Herod’s mass murder of Hebrew baby boys after the birth of Jesus.  Centuries of history that detail cruel conquerors who wiped out entire people groups or attempted to. The millions of lives lost to genocides and abortions around the world.

If God were as uninvolved and uncaring as many people claim he is, he never would have sent Jesus. He cannot intervene continuously to stop the hand of those who take innocent lives because that would violate the law of choice. Allowing humans the choice between good and evil doesn’t mean he isn’t grieved when they choose evil.

If we are involved with or tolerating the murder of innocents, we are connected with a detestable thing in God’s eyes. God-followers, we need to faithfully pray for the abortion industry to be completely shut down in our country. For most of us the fight against this murder of innocents will happen in our prayer closets. Some of us will be called to do other things like work in pregnancy resource centers, run for public office, donate to pro-life causes or whatever else God puts on your hearts.  We must not passively accept the murder of innocents without resisting it on the spiritual battlefield.  God hates it and we as his children need to align ourselves with him on this matter.

God bless and keep you as you filter your life through these first three things on God’s list. His grace is poured out on us so that we may recognize areas where we are not pleasing and serving him and come back into proper alignment.

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