The Challenge – Day 2

My friend Nancy challenged me to 7 days of sharing a Bible verse (or verses) that are meaningful to me. Up for Day 2….

“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 man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” Proverbs 6:19 (NIV)

Or in another translation…

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 6:19 (CEV)

I love a good story, the more dramatic the better, and because of that I am sometimes drawn to gossip. You too? I suspect so. Even if you pretend not to be interested.

Hearing of the drama of other people’s lives enthralls us. We often believe it to be true without questioning it. We are so quick to destroy the lives and reputations of others that it amazes me. It’s as though we’re living a version of the Hunger Games and cheering on neighbors as they kill neighbors… for our personal entertainment.

Now, I don’t think we necessarily set out to destroy lives in talking about such things….but it happens quite easily. Good people spread gossip. We take “facts” told to us by other people as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, without question. We judge them as guilty, without the benefit of a trial. We would be shattered if it was done to us. What’s really sad is that it probably has been done to us or to those we love. We don’t seem to learn from it. We don’t give others the consideration that we would expect. We don’t treat others with the same kindness we would like applied to our own loved ones.

What do we look for in ourselves and others to see if this is a problem? There is a great list here.

Haughty eyes – Often a gossip is quite convincing. They (we) will look you straight in the eyes and tell you something is true. Their evidence? Well, if you question them you may find it is a bit spotty. Phrases like “I just know.” “Someone told me it looked as though this was true.” “I had a feeling.” “I put two and two together.” I’m definitely a believer in intuition….but I know not everyone has it, those feelings don’t always prove to be true, and probably we shouldn’t buy everyone’s “feelings” as truth. Sometimes when we think we have it all figured out, we really don’t. Keep those haughty eyes in check.

A lying tongue – In your life, what is truth? Is it fact, or rumor? Is smoke always fire? Do you accept all as fact, until someone proves it isn’t true, or the opposite? Because someone says something as truth, you don’t have to believe it without question. In fact, you are foolish if you do. When words leave your lips (or your fingers), are they really the truth? Does that matter to you? Our tongue can be our most destructive weapon….we need to take care that we don’t speak without thought.

Hands that shed innocent blood – Blood is not just shed by swords or other obvious weapons. Some of the worse bloodshed is the person who condemns an innocent. I sometimes have to put myself in my place by reminding myself that it is very probable I would have been at the foot of the cross condemning Christ. I hope seeing that mental picture of myself keeps me from doing the same thing to other people. Sometimes it does, but I haven’t gotten it perfected.

A heart that devises wicked schemes -We can be a manipulative people. Unfortunately that manipulation is not usually used for someone else’s good. Funny, that. If we are spending our time coming up with ways to destroy the lives of others, it may be time for a heart check and a redirection of its use. As the creative type, personally I could be really good at “wicked scheme planning” if I were to put my energy to it. I try to keep my energy headed in different directions. Sometimes that is difficult. Constant heart checks, and a plan for how I want my heart to act, help.

Feet that are quick to rush into evil – What direction are we headed? Is it taking us toward good things or evil? Are we running with the mob without really knowing what the mob is all about? Do we know what the mob is about is wrong, but joining them anyway? Or are we the lone ranger type and rushing into it all in our own? Our feet head where our brain tells them to…we need to keep our brain headed in the right place so our feet follow,

A false witness who pours out lies – I’ve been a reporter before, covering an event that another reporter has covered. When I read their story I thought “Where in the world were they?” It’s like we saw totally different things happen. What would a reader believe to be true?

I’m also a big reader and I have always been a fan of the “unreliable narrator.” The unreliable narrator tells the story through their own perception, or through what they want you to believe as the truth. When it gets down to it, what they say is certainly not truth and may be a total distortion of the facts or just enough of a distortion to really confuse your mind. They’re not just in books….we’re all unreliable narrators at least some if the time. Sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose. An unreliable narrator can be very convincing, and make you feel like a fool. So can a false witness. Even worse is when you realize you are one yourself.

A man (or woman) who stirs up dissension among brothers – We know the pot stirrers. Let’s just call them bullies. They don’t go away with childhood. Sometimes they just get better at it. Those people who want others to join them as they go against someone? As they attack their character or their reputation? You have the power to say no. If you fall in step with them, you are responsible for the destruction. If you are leading the pack, you are responsible for the carnage…and are negatively impacting our world.

These things are called out as things that God hatesthings he finds detestablethings he loathes with a passion. Strong words. Are those the things you want to spend your time doing? As I think about it, I have to agree with God. Personally I don’t want these things to mark my life story. They can inch into your life subtly and become who you are in no time.

One of the messages for my church this Sunday was that sometimes, if we are living as Christ lived, as God wants us to live, we will sometimes be at odds with those who we love. For me, if God hates it, I want to hate it, too. That doesn’t always come naturally to me. It may not come naturally to you either. I am sure I have done, and maybe still do, these seven things. It’s easy to get caught up with the drama and want to be part of it. For myself, I decide what kind if drama I want to support. I want to live a life that leads to good things, not destruction…and I want to encourage that in others..

My goal is to have eyes that shine light, a tongue that tells truth, hands that protect the innocent, a heart that looks for new ways to love, and feet that run to goodness. I want to be a reliable witness to truth and I want to promote peace in my family, in my friendships, in my church, in my community, in my country, and in my world. 

I commit to these things even if I am the only one who will, but together we can make a greater impact. Care to join me?

“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 man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” Proverbs 6:19 (NIV)

(Join me in the Bible verse challenge – seven days of sharing verses that are meaningful to you.)

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