Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Things the Lord Hates, Part 1

"Brotherhood of Mankind" (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Photo Credit: Bill Longstaff, Flickr Creative Commons
http://www.flickr.com/people/57766598@N05/
There are a few interesting verses in Proverbs that have always made me sit up and take notice. I suppose we could say that we should really sit up and take notice of all the verses in the Bible, but these have brought me back time and time again.

With this post we begin the first of a seven-part series from Proverbs on "The Things the Lord Hates." This is not going to be some heavy theological exposition, so if that's what you're looking for, I'm afraid you will likely be somewhat disappointed. Rather, like most my posts, these are simply the musings that grow out of my personal Bible reading and meditation. More often than not, they are simply the things that make me sit up and say, "Hmm."

I remember someone I met a while ago sharing how his son had these verses drawn as a full sleeve tattoo on his arm. When asked about the tattoo, apparently he always ended up sharing his testimony by starting out with the “things the Lord hates.”

How cool is that? I would love to see that tattoo.
“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 that pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” (Proverbs 6: 16-19; NIV)
First, a caveat is in order. “Hate” is a strong word. Does it bother you to think about God as “hating” something? I am not suggesting that God hates people, for God is a God of love who loves you and me dearly, and thus the cross of Christ. But just as a parent who loves a child can still hate it when the child does something foolish or dangerous, so too God can hate it when you and I do certain foolish, dangerous or sinful things, and yet still love us dearly. Again, I am not talking about hating the person; rather I am talking about hating the sin in the person.  

The first thing that God hates is “Haughty Eyes”

Haughty is not a word many of us use in our day-to-day vocabulary any more. The Amplified Bible translates it this way: “A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others].” In other words, to be haughty is to be prideful.

When you or I think we’re somehow better than the next person, we’re being prideful. And if we’re being prideful, then we are manifesting a spirit or trait that God hates. Not only is esteeming ourselves better than the next person sinful and wrong, but ultimately it is also dangerous to our own wellbeing.
“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises” (Psalm 10:2). “Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence” (Psalm 73:6). “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin” (Proverbs 21:4). “For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust in his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16).
What does God think of haughtiness? What does He think of pride in you and me? I think the Bible makes it pretty clear; He HATES it. Why do you suppose God makes such a big deal about haughtiness? I suspect that part of the answer lies in the fact that we are also called to love one another. What does my overestimating myself and underestimating others really say about my relationship with my fellow man? Well whatever it says, it doesn't say "love" and it doesn't say "brotherhood."
"We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother" (1 John 4: 19-21; NIV).
I don't really pretend to have the answers here, and like I said earlier, these are just my simple musings. But I really have a hard time seeing how a haughty pride can at the same time exhibit genuine love for its fellow man, and I really do believe that is the reason God hates it too.

So the next time you and I persist in haughtiness, the next time you and I think that we’re “all that,” maybe we should pause and remember what God thinks of that. I believe this to be as true in the individual as it is true corporately in a society or a nation. Pride is almost like tempting fate. Not only does God hate that in us for the way it belittles others (for whom Christ also died, I might add), but He also hates it because He knows that it ultimately leads to our own destruction. God doesn’t want to see that happen to you and me any more than we would want to see destruction happen to our own children.

Time to be brutally honest with ourselves:

  • Do I have “haughty eyes?” Am I prideful? 

  • Do I think I’m somehow better than others? Am I “all that?”

  • Does knowing what God thinks of my pride change the way I treat others?

  • What if I were to begin overestimating others and underestimating myself, rather than the other way around?

  • What does humility mean to me?

  • Has a form of destruction already begun to come upon me, or my society, because of my/our pride? I wonder.

That's the way I see it anyways. Peace.
__________
In Part 2 we will consider the second thing the Lord hates; a lying tongue.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing this post. It puts a mirror in front of me, reminding me that as disappointed I am in my husband's behavior, I must not let pride deceive me into thinking I am somehow better than him. Again, thank you and God bless

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      It puts a mirror in front of me too. Bless you too, my friend, and whatever the issue is between you and your husband, the Lord knows all about it already. May He give you, and your husband, peace. Thanks for sharing.

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