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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hurting God's Heart

16-19 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)

Solomon outlines for us six things God hates and adds just one more (kind of like the cherry on top) that God has some pretty serious feelings about (loathing).  Hate carries the idea of intense, passionate dislike of something.  Loathing carries a sense of disgust and gives one the idea that God is repulsed by the type of action he sees.
  1. Haughty eyes (arrogant eyes) - pride is a battle we must fight every day.  Any time we have a higher opinion of ourselves than those around us, we are probably dealing with an issue of pride.  Sometimes we need a "pulse check" from another we trust to see how we are doing in this area.  The call is to lay down one's own agenda for the good of the whole - to not become focused on what you believe is "due" you because of your position, contribution, etc.  God pretty much declares that pride becomes a barrier that keeps us from realizing some of the best stuff he has.
  2. Lying tongues - words are more powerful than we'd first like to give them credit.  Our words make or break a situation - they tear down, or build up.  Plain and simple.  More defilement enters into our lives through the destructiveness of our words than we'd probably like to admit.  Hurtful words drive wedges, create animosity, and destroy character.  God simply cannot abide that kind of behavior in his family - because it destroys the family's integrity.
  3. Hands that murder the innocent - our hands are tools that can either reflect the grace of God's touch, or the hurtfulness of selfish, prideful self-will.  Much is conveyed in a touch, but nothing rises to the level of touching that which is innocent and bringing death by that touch.  In our society today, we could go so far as to say this is not just the "taking of a life", but the stripping away of the dignity and respect of a life by the use of any type of inappropriate touch (bringing death emotionally).  Innocence is lost in just one touch.
  4. Hearts that plot evil - our emotions are either positive or negative (there really is no "emotional middle-ground").  Envy, lust, pride, fear, anger, rage - these describe emotions that stem from our heart.  Each of these emotions are a reflection of something within.  They may be the response to an actual circumstance, or the imaginations of our mind.  Regardless of their "source", the action is the same - repaying or responding out of our emotion.  God looks at the outcome of our thoughts - not so much that we simply had the thought.  He works on changing the thought patterns, of course, but his focus is on the outcome (what we do with the thought we have).  
  5. Feet that race to do wrong - it is one thing to meditate on what is wrong, or on what will yield an outcome of sinful behavior, but it is another thing to embrace it and follow hard after it.  Whenever we find ourselves "racing" toward what we know is wrong, we are in a place of dishonoring our God.
  6. A false witness - more than someone who just tells a lie - this is the testimony of one against another.  This also is our testimony of our lives - living out the message of the gospel, or the message of a self-directed life.  We make a choice - reveal God's grace in how we live out our lives, or reveal our selfishness and pride.  To say that we are Christian and choose to live selfish, pride-filled lives is to have a false witness.
  7. A person who sows discord among brothers (family) - the cherry on the top!  God's method of accomplishing his purposes is within "family" - anything that destroys family is an abomination to God (something he abhors).  God desires us to be in relationship - to be "builders" of relationship, not in the "demolition" business.  As we embrace patterns of sinful behavior, we are working to destroy the integrity of the family.
These are all pretty "stinky" stuff.  The list starts out pretty "tame" - deal with your attitude of "self-importance" and ends with a strong warning about not destroying family.  All that comes in between builds upon the other.  Rarely do we see one of these traits in isolation of another.  Most of the time, they go hand in hand.  Learning what it is that hurts God's heart is paramount if we want to draw close to him.