At the beginning of each new year it is customary for some to enter into new year resolutions. It is also customary for those resolutions to be broken a short time into the new year, so some may ask “why bother”. However for every Christian our aim should be to become more like Jesus so why not use the new beginning that the start of another year brings to look at our lives and ensure that as far as possible what we conform our lives to the teaching of Christ.
While many believers looking to improve personality traits are prone to focus on the fruit of the spirit detailed in Galatians, a section of Proverbs 6 is an amalgam of jolting, convicting, and eye-opening, and it shouldn’t be ignored. These verses serve as a Scriptural gut-check worthy of being reflected on by every believer in any and all seasons. Rather than offering a set of positive parameters, Proverbs 6:16-19 details the “six things the Lord hates.” That bold and blatant language makes it clear these sentiments and actions are items to totally avoid in our lives. Here’s what these verses proclaim: “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 who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
Let’s briefly look at each of these to explore why God might loathe these characteristics:
Haughty eyes refer to a “proud look.” This is when someone is looking down on others or overtaken by pride. It’s no secret in Scripture the Lord isn’t a big fan of pride, as He calls His people to humility. Beyond that, every man, woman, and child are made in the image of God. So, having “haughty” or prideful eyes is something the Lord detests. With that in mind, it’s never a bad time to do a self-assessment to be sure you’re living with humility and avoiding arrogance, especially regarding your interactions with others.
A LYING TONGUE
This one seems pretty straightforward: The Lord truly dislikes lying, as He calls His followers to truth in all areas. Spouting mistruths is a violation of trust and creates a disconnect not only between people but also between offenders’ hearts and the Lord. It’s no surprise as to why God hates “a lying tongue.” Scripture repeatedly speaks of the power and pertinence of truth.
HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD
Yet another non-surprise here, but the Lord is no fan of murder or harm, with this verse specifically noting He hates the shedding of “innocent blood.” We see this spelled out throughout Scripture; the provision against murder is even mentioned in the Ten Commandments. While this isn’t an area most people need to check themselves on, per se, in the new year, it’s certainly worth assessing, to a much lesser degree, how we treat other human beings created in God’s image.
A HEART THAT DEVISES WICKED SCHEMES
In the era of “scam likely” calls gone wild; schemes seem to be everywhere. And with a culture that obsessively focuses on the self, it’s no surprise we’re seeing technology fuel new and “innovative” forms of scheming. Just as there’s nothing new under the sun, the Lord also never changes. Proverbs makes it clear God hates a heart bent on tricking and harming others with “wicked” scams and tricks. Being smart and decisive is one thing, but wickedly scheming is another.
FEET THAT ARE QUICK TO RUSH INTO EVIL
As Christians, we’re called to seek goodness, live it out, and love God and others in all we do. No one is perfect, and mistakes will be made, but the Bible is clear that a persistent quest to “rush into evil” isn’t something the Lord values. In fact, God hates it when we are quick to seek out what is wrong and immoral over what’s right and holy. And yet culture sometimes pushes us to do just that, inverting good and evil and incentivizing us when we find ourselves enraptured by the latter. The best shield is wisdom which can only come from the Lord. Where are you getting your cues from? If there’s an area of struggle or a facet of your life in which your feet too quickly rush into evil, turn to prayer, the Bible, and faith to find a path forward.
A FALSE WITNESS WHO LIES AND A PERSON WHO STIRS UP CONFLICT IN THE COMMUNITY
Finally, there’s the person who lies, bears false witness, and stirs up conflict. We all know one of these people, though we likely struggle to see ourselves as guilty of any of these things, even if and when we are. Sometimes jealousy and resentment, when left untamed, can spark these actions. Other times, people are deeply in need of the Gospel and heart transformation, living their lives in constant quarrel with everyone around them. Either way, these qualities of division and hatred — actions that separate and hurt people — run counter to the biblical call to love God and love others. Such acts not only hurt people but also harm the individuals perpetuating them. Are you a person who sometimes stirs up conflict? Do you have pride and anger issues that secretly cause you to seethe and perhaps pour out lies — or cunningly create rifts between others? These are hard questions to affirm, though an assessment is a must.
So, as we head into 2023, let’s pray over and ponder what God hates, what He calls us to, and how we can ensure we’re in line with His will.
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