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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Seven things God has strong opinions about - Part I

 Here are six things God hates, 
    and one more that he loathes with a passion: 
      eyes that are arrogant, 
      a tongue that lies, 
      hands that murder the innocent, 
      a heart that hatches evil plots, 
      feet that race down a wicked track, 
      a mouth that lies under oath, 
      a troublemaker in the family.
(Proverbs 6:16-19)

This morning, I wanted to take a few moments to begin to look at this passage. We will be considering each of these identified behaviors individually.  Our writer opens with a pretty straight-forward, yet very ominous warning to us.  God "HATES" these things.  I have always taught my kids that the word "hate" really should not be in our vocabulary, let alone in our behavior or attitudes toward others.  So, why is it that our writer uses this term to describe God's attitude toward certain things?  

It is plain to see from the passage that God does not hate the one who acts in these ways (exhibits these behaviors), but rather, he hates the behavior - because it does not reflect him to a lost and hurting world.  These behaviors are contrary to the actions of heart that reflect a spiritual renewal and cleansing.  They also stem from a heart that has not truly made God the center of focus.

Our writer says that God hates the first six identified behaviors and loathes the last.  I always thought there was not too much difference between hating something and truly loathing it.  Yet, there must be some subtle differences if both words are used.  Hate carries the idea of detesting something - being so intense in your dislike that you are actually hostile toward it.  Loathe carries the idea of feeling disgust with a particular behavior.  Some pretty strong words, huh?  And they are associated with our heavenly father!  

We cannot lose sight of the fact that there are behaviors identified, not PEOPLE, that are outlined as objects of his intense dislike and disgust.  You may have heard the saying, "God loves the sinner, but he hates the sin" - this is the idea behind this passage.  He cannot condone sinful behavior because it is contrary to his character - who he is as a person (a holy God).  He can accept the person and still not condone the behavior - he does this through the blood sacrifice of his son.

In fact, when God looks at our sinful state, he sees us through the eyes of forgiveness.  Forgiveness that was purchased by the cross.  If that is the case, why does God focus us on these seven characteristics of behavior as "not pleasing" to him?  Well, look closely at what has been outlined.  Pride, a lack of truth, harm of another, evil intents - all are suggestive that "self" is the focus, not God.  These behaviors interfere with others seeing Christ in us.  Therefore, they need to be forsaken.  

Eyes that are arrogant - an arrogant person is quite assuming in their behavior.  There is an air of superiority that emanates from them.  The arrogant focus on their "rights" - ignoring the "needs" of those around them.  God detests this kind of behavior because it is a "put off" to those who would want to draw near to us.  People are not drawn to one who is always putting on "airs".  In fact, they are often repelled by this attitude of superiority - maybe because they find themselves judged in the eyes of the one who exhibits this behavior tendency.  

God wants his kids to be approachable - he wants our hearts and our attitudes to reflect that we are simply redeemed sinners.  There is nothing superior in our "make up" that brings us into the place of salvation - ALL are sinners, ALL have fallen short of his glory, ALL stand in need of a savior.  The fact that we have welcomed Jesus into our heart should not "elevate" us to a place of self importance, but should stand as a constant reminder that except for his grace in operation, we'd still be miserable sinners.

Tomorrow, we will consider some of the other behavior traits listed in this passage.  Today, let's begin by asking God to point out any tendency we may have to look at others through eyes that are tinted with any type of arrogance.  If he exposes this to us, ask him to begin to change that attitude today.  We may be very surprised how a simple change in our perspective of self importance affects how we see others around us!