Chambers: Seven things the Lord hates
Published 4:14 pm Friday, March 17, 2023
This is taken from Proverbs 6:16-19. There are seven things that the Lord hates and cannot tolerate. A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that thinks up wicked plans, feet that hurry off to do evil, a witness that tells one lie after another, and someone who stirs up trouble among friends.
Have you ever been so set in your own spiritual certitude, and moral judgment that you couldn’t stand anyone who violated it in any way? Why did such compromise bother you so much? Did you ever suffer the ravages of a proud look or a lying tongue? How did their cruelty make you feel? Were you ever of a mind that thinks up wicked plans, how was that?
Are you able to think of believers and Disciples who are quite content to be countercultural in the clean speech and constant kindness they practice so routinely, as Godly behavior? Standards, principles, guidelines and such procedures are widely acknowledged as crucial in the conduct of a healthy society.
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But, it seems we love to test their limits. It is truly amazing how we are able to have our sensitivities dulled with constant bombardment of these golden means. Growing up in a Christian environment many decades ago, and having church fill up a major portion of the week, we had really never encountered a lot of profanity, cursing or even foul language. Even the coaches at school didn’t allow the use of such colorful metaphors in the gym or on the field. We were taught such self-expression was wrong, discourteous and unfit to be included in a decent person’s vocabulary.
Furthermore, it was heavily implied we should be offended by such speech. Upon entering basic training in the Marine Corp in 1966, a most rude awakening involved a full introduction to the world of profanity, obscenity and vulgarity. Those drill instructors, quite unlike the coaches I had known, not only failed to forbid the use of any of those earthy expressions of frustration and impatience, they practiced them so often and used them with such variety and intensity, they could have raised foul speech to an art form. In the beginning, this produced shock and awe, a now disbelief people could use such language with such reckless abandon. But, over time, the shock wore off to such degree recruits barely noticed its usage.
It was standard operating procedure.
This is what makes the passage in Proverbs so important and so significant, although we may grow accustomed to certain troubling aspects of our society, God still calls us to a higher standard in our use of the gifts of human speech and activity. The inspired author of the book of Proverbs reminds us there are seven things he hates and cannot tolerate. If God hates these things and can’t tolerate them, we should make doubly sure we never allow them within our lives. What are they? A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that thinks up wicked plans, feet that hurry off to do evil, a witness that tells one lie after another, and someone who stirs up trouble among friends. Some of these we see and readily agree with, while others may take us by surprise.
It’s not a matter of how they appear from the outside, but what they do to us inside. We can be better than that, and our All-Holy God wants to get us there, even more than we may want to get there. God grants us the Grace of Holy option. Refine our Faith in you till our purer heart impels us to choose speech and behavior that glorifies you.
Renew our minds in your wisdom until what we say and do build up our brothers and sisters in an authentic love and faithful friendship. Transform us from within, so we bear your spirit’s, fruit of love, joy, peace, etc. to learn new ways to keep our humor clean and purify our passions with a sense of honor, as we seek to live in harmony with your word. Walk with us in encouraging truth, so we courageously embrace worthy lifestyles of those you call your own.
Rev. Joe N. Chambers Jr. is the chairman of the Buckingham Board of Supervisors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.