There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
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 who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
We’re often reminded by others to love what and whom God loves — orphans, widows, the outcast; justice, mercy, and even love itself. And, I think, as women, this can play to our natural strengths of nurturing and caring and protecting. We often have a tendency to see the good in everyone and everything — to allow a wide berth for error, for ourselves and others. And there are times when this is exactly what we should do — especially where others are concerned. If God, through Jesus, was not gracious toward our errors, all of us would be on an irreversible path to hell.
There is a danger in our mercy, though. God, of course, displays mercy perfectly. We imperfectly mimic. For all the mercy God shows, He doesn’t let go of justice. His mercy, in its perfection, doesn’t become a condoning of sin. But, too often, our rough imitation of God’s mercy turns into just that — a quiet, yet powerful approval of the very things God hates.
So, without letting go of the mercy that is so close to God’s heart (see Micah 6:8 – one of my all-time favorite verses), we have to call sin sin and allow God to strip it from our lives. This, then, is the second way we get closer to God — not only by loving the things He loves, but also by getting rid of the things in us that He hates.
If our ultimate goal is to know God more intimately, to be always closer to Him, then both are important. Harboring habits and attributes He hates will affect our closeness with Him. And this isn’t about the debatables. As far as I can tell from reading the Bible, our closeness with God doesn’t hinge on whether we’ve been dunked or sprinkled, whether we sing contemporary songs with pounding drums or hymns with an organ.
Similarly, my father-in-law and I don’t actually dislike each other over the fact that we rarely root for the same teams. (I love the Titans and he’s under the mistaken impression that the Colts are somehow a better team.) Instead, those differences help make our family, and our interactions, interesting. At times this type of difference in preferences can even bring us closer. Good-natured ribbing, the lively conversation during the games, and the fellowship at diners where he has to buy me breakfast when my March Madness pick wins (yet again) all bring us closer.
On the other hand, unreconciled differences on more important matters (like personal values, for instance) are a threat to relationships. If my father-in-law and I differed in belief about the equality of all people, regardless of race — that would cause a gulf. If he harbored racism in his heart, we could only ever be so close. Something that distasteful to me, about something that important, could not help but negatively affect my relationship with Him.
In a similar way, God isn’t likely to fight with us over football teams — but there will be a gulf between us as long as we harbor in our hearts the very things God tells us He detests.
So, using Proverbs 6:16-19 as our starting point, we’re going to look at seven things God detests. And along the way, we’ll look at other passages to help us see why God hates these things, where they might hide in our own lives, and how we can carve them out of our hearts — which will allow us to fill our hearts and lives more fully each day with God and His love.
This Week’s Challenge: Just glancing at the list, which of these seven things do you think you naturally have the most trouble with? Spend some time in the next week asking God to help you begin working on that.
Read part two of the series: (becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6, part 2 (haughty eyes)
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