16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
As Christians, we know that all sin is unacceptable; just one sin is enough to warrant the death penalty. We have all been sinners, and the only way to escape justice is through the mercy of God towards those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Are there sins that God hates more than others? Maybe there is some room to debate that question, but passages like the one above provides some insight into that which God hates, in any case.
When we read these passages, we have a few things to contend with.
Jesus is merciful to our country, and we have been blessed for many decades in a land that generally accepts Christianity and allows freedom of worship. However, if our country can be characterized by the above things that God hates, He will chastise our nation. Should it be any different?
We know this to be true to some degree, but the temptation is to blame others. The temptation is to blame the unbelievers, to harp over their sin, and to fight them in the realms of politics, law, and social movements.
However, we should consider our wrongs first. Could it be that the negligence of our Christian society is to blame? Even if we disagree on that front, as Christians we should know that it is always more productive to “get the beam out of our own eye” first.
Out of respect for His blood that was shed to cleanse us of our sin, and out of respect for the blood that was shed to provide us with a free nation, let us consider these things deeply and honestly—all the while remembering that Jesus knows all, He is great in mercy, and He will save everyone who belongs to Him.
First, there are certain sins that some Christians harp over as “abominations.” If we focus too sternly on certain issues that are easy to target, yet we forget that God also considers pride, lying, murdering the innocent (remember the way Jesus describes murder in the Sermon on the Mount), being quick to do wickedness, slander, and sewing conflict among fellow believers as abominable, we become hypocrites.
Second, we must consider how these abominations apply to us as individuals. Have we ever had a heart of pride? Have we ever lied? Have we ever lived a lifestyle that was sin seeking? Have we ever lied about another person? Have we ever caused conflict between other people purposefully? If we have, then we need to find a place of mercy for others who do such things. If we still have these issues to contend with, then we need to approach Jesus for forgiveness and continue to seek freedom from these issues.
Lastly, I strongly believe that the above issues reflect ideas concerning the sins of the Christian church as we see in Revelation 2-3—churches to whom Jesus said “I will remove your candlestick out of its place” unless we repent.
Here is the list included in the work on Proverbs 5:21-23 describing my thoughts on these problems in basic terms:
- Exalting man over Jesus, including exaltation of religious leaders and our favorite denomination over the ways of Jesus.
- When we accuse and slander others within the faith and without the faith, therewith we justify destroying others while remaining blind to our own faults.
- When we abuse the blood of Jesus either by forgetting mercy or by excusing sins because we are “forgiven” or because of “grace.” Calling sinfulness righteous also falls into the category of abusing the blood of Jesus.
- When we pursue the faith intellectually or legalistically and fail to take the ways of Jesus to heart.
- When we pursue the things of this world over the things of the Kingdom of Heaven and therewith find contentment and the illusion of security or God’s favor.
- When we abuse the Word of God as a tool by which we do all the above.
Jesus is merciful to us. He is merciful to our individual problems and He is merciful towards the problems within the Christian body collectively. However, in His mercy and goodness He will chastise us as sons if we continue doing the things He hates.
Should it be any different? Should we expect Him to bear our sins indefinitely when He provided us with everything we need to do otherwise?
Now the question becomes, what do we do about this?
One of the great things about Christianity is the power of the individual. This might not seem like the fast-track solution we want, but I believe this is the best way: each Christian individual who becomes aware of these problems should seek Jesus for their own forgiveness, healing, and strength to overcome.
We can look at ourselves honestly, make amends with our brethren as necessary, and consider how we might be more effective at bringing Jesus to those around us. We can hold our Christian leaders accountable by speaking with the pastors and other authority figures at the church we attend if necessary. We can hold our Christian culture accountable by refraining from Christian media that perpetuates such problems.
We should NOT go on a rampage against other Christians or churches. We should NOT go on a rampage against unbelievers.
Jesus will handle the large-scale problems. If we want to escape, we need to get our own house in order beginning with ourselves as an individual, our homes, our local churches, and our local unbelieving community to the degree to which it is possible.
Each person, according to his or her individual conscience has a role to play in furthering the Kingdom of Heaven. If we seek Jesus earnestly and above all else (or sincerely strive to make Him above all else), He will make the way clear.
We might not know what we should do, but we can have faith that God has a plan and whatever we end up doing is part of that plan. Anything we do or face will work out for our good and for the good of our Christian church collectively.
What about myself? For now, my attempts at being faithful to what Jesus gave me is accomplished through writing and through working on my life. I probably have some measure of these issues yet to contend with in myself, and I certainly want to do a better job of reflecting Jesus to those around me. I have also considered talking with a couple pastors that I have some respect for, but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that.
I need to keep working on me and on my home while seeking Jesus for greater wisdom and understanding–and most importantly, the ability to walk worthy of the Christian calling by conforming myself to His image to the degree He allows in this present life.