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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I hate this....

I used to teach my kids not to use the word "hate" when they described their dislike of something.  For example, whenever they said they "hated broccoli" I would ask them to change it to they "disliked broccoli".  Broccoli is an inanimate object - it has not soul.  Hatred carries this idea of "enmity" within the relationship - and my kids had no relationship with broccoli!  Whenever they said they "hated" this kid or that one, I would ask why they were feeling such passionate dislike and hostility toward them.  I tried to connect the difference between dislike and hatred by the idea of relationship.  We relate to people, not to an inanimate object.  We therefore have the ability to destroy people when we don't get things right in relationship with them.  We can regrow broccoli, but regrowing relationship is quite a different matter! When God says he "hates" something, he means he has an aversion to it so strongly because he sees what it does to the "relationship" he has with either you and I, or the relationship we have with each other.  

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 MSG)

Seven things God says he hates - mostly because of how these things affect our relationship with him and others:

- Eyes that are arrogant.  Arrogance will do more to destroy relationship than we might imagine, simply because our feelings of "self-importance" and "self-preservation" which are part of being arrogant become the basis by which we view all of life.  We push others away by our feelings of superiority - including God.  We don't see our need for his intervention in our lives because we think we have it all handled pretty well by ourselves.  The other dangerous part of being arrogant is the tendency to see ourselves as "deserving" of another's attention, trust, or love.  The truth is - we seldom act in a way which is deserving of the tremendous amount of grace we received from God and those who love him!

- A tongue that lies.  Deliberate intent to deceive is quick to tear down any foundation a relationship might have.  It divides quickly and leaves things in a mess.  This is also quite true in our relationship with our heavenly Father. Whenever we find it difficult to be honest with him, covering up our shortcomings with some form of a "lie" or untruth, we are erecting walls which he must destroy in order to get at our heart.  The words we speak betray our heart quicker than we might realize.  Anything which presents a false impression of the way things really are is a lie.  A false impression only serves to keep people at a distance - masks must be removed if we are to experience the reality of relationship.

- Hands that murder the innocent.  While most of us are not going to be guilty of wielding a gun and pulling the trigger, taking the life of another, we might not recognize how much our words and attitude can do exactly the same thing!  In this day and age of "bullying" and "alienation", isn't it apparent that our words and actions display a hurtful side to our character at times?  Murder is more than just taking a life by violent means.  If you look it up, murder can even stand for a group or flock of crows!  Now, I don't think God had crows in mind when he gave Solomon these words to pen, but hear me out on this one. A flock of crows does a great deal of damage and they are pretty annoying! They swoop in on the fields and take up residence where they are least wanted. In time, they multiply to great proportion - and their incessant squawking will drive a person mad!  What makes crows dangerous is their tendency to be territorial - they want what they should not have, defending it as though it were theirs to take!  Now, think about that in terms of what God wants from our relationships.  He doesn't want us taking what we should not have!

- A heart that hatches evil plots.  Hatching is a process of brooding.  God is reminding us of the dangers of brooding on stuff.  Things which ruminate in our brains long enough begin to affect our actions.  Ruminate on the negative and you will become quite negative about everything.  Ruminate on those things which are cynical, harmful or injurious to another and you will soon be acting out what it is you are thinking upon.  

- Feet that pace down a wicked track.  It goes without saying that we move in the direction our feet are pointed.  Most of us don't go through life walking backward - we step out and away from where it is we have been - moving forward as a result.  The path we choose to trod makes all the difference in the destination we realize.  We cannot forget how the journey influences our ultimate destination.  Get on the wrong plane headed in the wrong direction at the airport and you will find yourself all the way on the other side of the country, far from where you designed to go.  When we trod a wicked path, we find ourselves deeply encrusted with misery, agonizing relationship issues, and nagging guilt.  God's desire is for us to avoid such a destiny!

- A mouth that lies under oath.  We might think this related to our first issue of not telling untruths.  In a way it is, but it carries a more significant meaning because there is an "oath" behind it.  Most of us don't think of our words as "binding" or "under oath".  Unless we raise our right hand and swear on the Bible in a courtroom before a judge, we probably don't think we are "under oath" at all.  We often give our "pledge" to another in relationship - to be there at a certain time, to attend a special event, or to even spend time on a particular date just being with each other.  Whenever we break this "pledge", we are breaking our "oath".  An oath is similar to a vow.  It is when we ask God to act as our witness to the surety we will do as we say.  

- A troublemaker in the family.  God tacks this one on because it carries such a huge wallop.  There is nothing more damaging to a family than one "pitting" themselves against another - whether it be for the attention of their parents, the attention it gets them, or some other malevolent reason.  A troublemaker has but one desire - to make distress and worry a part of everyday life.  No family should have this kind of individual in it, including God's family!

We may not always do well at these things, but if we are determined to live within relationship with Jesus, we will pay attention to them and seek to have him help us not fall short of God's expectations in these areas of our relationship with him and others.  Just sayin!