Abominations: The Other Ones
Take a few seconds and think of the food you like the least...
Not just a food you don’t prefer but something you really can’t stand the thought of eating. For me, that would have to be anchovies. Their appearance and smell make it hard to fathom putting one into my mouth. Once you put it in your mouth, the taste and texture make it hard to believe it will stay down for very long. To us, this is a feeling of absolute disgust.
We know God views the abominations of men similarly. Solomon wrote,
When reading a list of things abominable to God, it sure would be nice if it the list of sins only applied to the most wicked people in “the world.” However, when reading this list, we can all appreciate these are mindsets, attitudes, and actions we all partake in too often. What starts in our minds can easily become an action that is an abomination to our Father.
Our tendency is to put certain sins, certain actions and certain types of people into a box and distance ourselves from them. Solomon clearly shows that none of us are too far away from that box.
Yet the goal of this article is not just to bring to our mind how many bad decisions we all make, for I think we all realize that, but as Ephesians 2:12 tells us, without the saving work of our Lord Jesus, none of us would make it. Bringing these things closer to home can help us all when we deal with a brother or a sister, or a family member or friend who has committed or is committing a sin we rank as an abomination. When we realize we are all in the same boat, it can help us show more grace.
The first one on the list is a proud look. This is a good place to start if you ever wanted to be all-encompassing and include all humanity. This doesn’t even go as far as saying you have prideful actions. No, you just need a “proud look,” or “haughty eyes,” as the ESV translates it.
without the saving work of our Lord Jesus, none of us would make it
Those natural feelings of accomplishment after graduating near the top of your class, or feelings of self-worth after a big promotion at your job, can very quickly become the proud look that is an abomination to God. David tells us in Psalm 10:4 this attitude leads us directly away from God, and is why God finds it so concerning. Pride appears to be at the root of the sin of Sodom (Isaiah 3:9). In fact, pride was the root of the sin of Israel during the time of Hosea and Amos (Hosea 7:10 and Amos 6:8). It is also our main problem today. Solomon’s words about pride are timeless and relevant today.
Therefore, in Proverbs 6, Solomon moves on to a lying tongue, which is differentiated from a false witness who breathes out lies (ESV) but references the same idea. We are not just referring to someone who is a pathological liar, but to all of us who sometime stretch the truth or leave out important parts of the truth because we are not willing to deal with the consequences of speaking truth.
As we read in Proverbs 19:9 about a false witness, holding back information with the intent to deceive is equated with lying. If we find ourselves only telling half-truths to protect our own name or reputation, this may fall into the category of a lying tongue. If your parents, your spouse, or a good friend asked you a question, and you had to justify in your own mind how you answered that question, there is a good chance you have had a lying tongue. Suppose someone asks your opinion on a controversial topic, and you hold back knowing that sharing the Biblical view might make you unpopular. That falls into the category of a lying tongue. Our God is a God of truth and wants us to worship in spirit and truth, the reason He finds these actions so abominable.
Our God is a God of truth and wants us to worship in spirit and truth
If there were one item on this Proverbs list we could try to claim innocence of, maybe the next one would be that item. Likely, most of us have never literally shed anyone else’s blood, let alone shed innocent blood. But you must wonder if, figuratively, we have?
Have we ever knowingly or unknowingly blamed someone else so we didn’t have to take responsibility for the actions we have committed? Have we ever looked the other way when someone else is being mocked or derided? Have we partaken in activities in the ecclesia that in some way cut others out? 1 John 3:15 highlights the fact there are many ways to “shed innocent blood” beyond any literal blood being spilled, and all too often, most of us find ourselves doing exactly that. Our Father cares deeply about every one of his sheep and cannot stand when one of them is hurt.
Continuing in the Proverbs verse, we can all relate with a heart and a mind that too often veers into evil imaginations. While we might be able to stop ourselves from doing many things that come into our mind, it becomes a lot harder to stop thinking about them. These wicked plans, as the ESV states, are the thoughts that come into our mind when someone challenges the way we are parenting or how we conduct ourselves at the meeting. These are the feelings of revenge we have in our mind when someone says something hurtful to our family or us. We know from Jeremiah 17:9 that “the heart is desperately wicked,” and when we act on these evil thoughts, we commit abominations.
“Feet that run swiftly to mischief” might be the one where many may say it is easy to avoid because their feet never run, let alone run swiftly. However, like everything else mentioned as an abomination to God, we probably find ourselves in these situations far too often. Think about the last five places your “feet” have traveled to, whether they traveled by car, train, or bike. For many, these may be places like school, work, or the house of a family member or friend. While these are hopefully not places we are actively running to evil, are there opportunities to exercise spiritual growth at these places?
And what about those of us who rush into judgments, or situations without carefully considering the entire story. Do our “feet” carry us to thoughts about others or the situations they are in that lead us away from the Grace of God? We may never actively run, but too often, we may find ourselves chasing mischief in other ways.
As we have discussed the idea of bearing false witness when discussing a lying tongue, we will skip to the last abomination listed to see if we fit that one as well. As you might have guessed by now, there is a good chance that each of us fits the bill. Proverbs states that God finds those who sow discord among their brethren and sisters abominable.
Sowing discord is not limited to someone who goes around gossiping or spreading news about other people, although that often does sow discord. We can sow a lot of discord in our families, our ecclesias or any relationship if we always find ourselves in arguments. If we have decided that our view is right, and if convincing others our view is right becomes our primary focus, we may end up sowing a lot of discord. If being right about a particular topic becomes more important than being loving, we are most likely sowing discord. The wearing of “masks” during the last two years of a pandemic has shown us how applicable this statement is.
Going through this list of abominations to God might lead us to the conclusion we are hopeless and shouldn’t bother to try. All too often, each one of us participates in actions that are thoroughly offensive to our Father. However, God has provided hope in this same Proverbs passage. Yes, God does view all these actions as truly dreadful, but He does not say that the believers who commit these actions are an abomination.
The Scriptures are full of people who, just like us, have committed many of these same abominations, yet God still loved them and desired godly repentance. In one incident in his life, David just about covered this entire list, yet he is described as a man after God’s own heart.
Manasseh was a king who, for most of his life, lived out every abomination possible, but when he turned to God, he was forgiven. It is the same for each one of us. Through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, our Father does not dwell on the abominations that we commit but has forgiven us and wants us to go and show the same forgiveness to others. Reminding ourselves that we can be just as guilty of these abominations, yet have been forgiven, should help us love and forgive others when they fall into an abomination.
We hope this walk-through of Proverbs 6 has reminded us that we all do fall short of the glory of God, but when we come to know Him and the grace that He offers, we can bring that perspective and grace to our dealings with our brothers and sisters.
(Ann Arbor Ecclesia, MI)