Your Lying Tongue Shakes Things Up

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:

  1. haughty eyes,
  2. a lying tongue, and
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that devises wicked plans,
  5. feet that make haste to run to evil,
  6. a false witness who breathes out lies, and
  7. one who sows discord among brothers.

Source: Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV – Bible Gateway

This is post three in the Hating what God Hates series.  First and second post can be found here and here.

A lying tongue is the second of the seven things here that God hates.  This one is pretty straightforward, right?  We all know what lying is, don’t we?

Let’s start with remembering what hating what God hates includes:  loving what God loves.  Those who want to follow God will be lovers of the truth.  Because the lying tongue, lying dormant and silent, is still what it is:  a lying tongue.

In contrast, listen to Psalm 15 (emphasis mine):

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
    and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

The second bolded phrase, “does not slander with his tongue” is the obvious one, right?  It uses the word “tongue” so it jumps out.  It’s about the “do not” part of what God hates…but there’s always a “put on” to go with the “put off,” a “do” to go with the “do not.”

More than that even, it starts with what’s going on in your heart more than what’s on your lips.  Putting off a lying tongue means speaking the truth, first and foremost, in your heart.  This is the kind of person God invites over for tea (see Ps. 15:1 above)…one who speaks truth even in his heart.  It’s easy to lie to yourself, or worse yet to rationalize what you’re saying as OK even when you know it’s not true.  Or not quite true.

And that brings us to the last bolded phrase:  “who swears to his own hurt and does not change.”  Sometimes telling the truth will get you in trouble.  It’ll make your life more difficult, at least in the short run.  Hating the lying tongue means telling the truth even when it appears to be in your best interest (like avoiding pain) to lie.  Doing what God wants, even when it looks uncomfortable in the near future, is the character He loves.   If you’re going to hate the lying tongue, you need to tell the truth even when it’s going to make your life more difficult.

The truth, though, is a bedrock in your life.  God says here “he who does these things shall never be moved” or as the NASB says, “can never be shaken.”

So hate the lying tongue.  Even the silent one.  And tell the truth even to your own hurt, and you will dwell in God’s tents and never be shaken.

 

 

Proud Eyes Can’t See 

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
  1. haughty eyes,
  2. a lying tongue, and
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that devises wicked plans,
  5. feet that make haste to run to evil,
  6. a false witness who breathes out lies, and
  7. one who sows discord among brothers.
Source: Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV - Bible Gateway

(previous post here)

I mentioned last week that I’d be writing a series of 8 posts, including the introduction, on this passage from Proverbs chapter 6.  The first on this list is “haughty eyes.”  Webster’s defines haughty as:

having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people

or 

blatantly and disdainfully proud

Pride is a hard thing to root out in your life.  This haughtiness, or pride on steroids, is all about a false self-image.  Those of us who have been won over by the grace of Jesus should know one thing as central to that Gospel:  there’s nothing good in you or me.  Nothing worth boasting about.  What did we bring to the table for our salvation?  Sin.  And that’s it.  A self-image based on truth is humble, not proud.  There’s nothing in yourself or myself that is worthy of esteem except what Jesus brings to the table. Continue reading

Haters Gonna Hate (and You Should Too)

The other day on the way to work, Moriah and I were listening to Proverbs 6 on an audio bible and this passage came on:

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”‭‭ — Proverbs‬ ‭6:16-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s a familiar passage to us, and one that a family favorite song Judy Rogers did has set to music.  It’s a harsh passage to use today because we get told that hatred is bad.  Without exception.  And here Solomon says that there are seven things God hates.  Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength means there are other things you are supposed to hate.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to run down through these seven things God hates, and explain what hating them means for you and me.  We’ll start next week with proud eyes.

As an added bonus, consider this post from Nancy Wilson that popped up in my feed recently based on the same passage:

But as I thought about it later, I realized that actually he is a hater. And so am I. And so are you. And so is that woman. We all hate something. She apparently hates haters. But being a hater is not a bad thing in itself. It all depends on what it is we are hating.God Himself hates lots of things. He hates sin. If He did not hate sin, Christ would not have  gone to the cross to redeem us from it. God is the ultimate hater because He hates sin more than any of us do, and we would do well to hate what He hates more than we do.

Source: Haters |

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The Body

I’m getting old. I’ve been saying that since I was about 30, and I laugh at 30-year-old me regularly for saying that. What in the world did he know? The reason I know it’s really
true this time is that my body aches a lot. Lately, it doesn’t matter if I’ve been sitting or lying down for 30 seconds or 7 hours my body reminds me it’s not what it used to be with creaks and pains every time I stand up. Every. Single.Time.

Though to be fair, as my wife says, it’s not the years…it’s the mileage. And the maintenance. Some of the pains are related to being stupid and lazy, of course. There are tons of people older than me in much better shape than I’m in.

Thankfully the Body of Christ is not having the same problem with deterioration. Jesus is actually making it better every day. But there are some similarities in that, just like when you exercise a particular muscle group for the first time in a while, sometimes we become aware of a part of the body we forgot (or never knew) was there. Our awareness, usually, caused by that part screaming out for attention.

You’ve done that right? Lifted weights or run for the first time in a while and all of a sudden there’s that one muscle screaming for attention…because it got used in a way it wasn’t used to. And the Body of Christ works that way sometimes as well, which makes all of your lives much more complicated than you’d like.

So consider this section from 1 Corinthians 12 (ESV):

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body,  so it is with Christ.13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is,  God arranged the members in the body, each one of them,  as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all
suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

That “muscle” in the Body screaming for help…that’s verse 26 here “If one member suffers, all suffer together.”

So what does it mean to be a part of the Body? We know it’s painful at times and that our
sin gets in the way of community, but how should we approach this issue?

That’s where Paul’s intro here about “differing gifts” is important. Being a part of the Body means that not everyone is like you. We have hands, feet, eyes, ears and so on. Hands are not eyes. Eyes are not feet.

Being different can be complicated. People that are “not like you” can be annoying, confusing, or even infuriating if you can’t recognize the value of the differences.

When I was in school we had a one day pass/fail class called Critical Thinking. In one of the exercises we took a “test” that divided us into lateral thinkers (connections, divergent possibilities, “big picture”), vertical thinkers (details, logic, analysis) and a middle group. The three groups were then given a picture on the screen to look at and, as a group, describe the picture.

It was a cartoonish drawing of a woman walking a dog and carrying multiple shopping bags and such. I seem to remember she was wearing a hat. What happened next, though, was extremely helpful for me and my understanding of people. They asked us to read off our description of the picture, and the two groups at the ends of the spectrum (more lateral and more vertical thinkers) got pretty animated with one another. The vertical thinkers wrote down things like “3 packages”, “2 blue bags”, “dog is a schnauzer.” The lateral thinkers, though, came up with a narrative about how she was an assistant with an unreasonable boss asked to do chores on her lunch break.

The vertical thinkers were openly, honestly, offended at the lateral thinkers. It was amazing to watch. I think the professor had to cut things off or the boxing gloves were about to come out.

I learned that day that not only do people approach issues very differently, but that it’s important for you and me to understand that the different approach doesn’t make the perspective any less valid. In fact, much like the blind men feeling different parts of an elephant, we need one another’s perspectives to see things more clearly. And when we6-blind-men-hansmiss that it is the perspective that is different and not the principles at play we will start to impugn motives to the other or make other false judgments. And that’s part of what Paul is getting at here when he says in verses 18-20, “18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

And that’s the second thing about the body you need to remember: we all need the rest of us. Hands are no good without eyes or eyes without feet. Your potential is maximized because of the differences others bring. Now I’m not talking to you here, but the person next to you, right? Every one of you needs to know that the gifts others bring, especially those you find the most frustrating, are what is going to make you the best hand/eye/ear/foot you can be. 20/20 vision is great, but lacking feet to get you to go see something new, or lacking a hand to hold something up so you can look at it from other perspectives…is it better then? And you eyes tend to think the hands are pretty annoying moving stuff around when you just got it to where you wanted.

Can you see how much better things can be if the Body cooperates together, appreciating and leveraging every single gift it has? Some of you are very creative, divergent thinkers. Others are vertical thinkers…everything precise, in its place, and always adding up to details that can be measured. Most of you are somewhere in between and have leanings one way or the other. And all of you bring something unique to the table for your work, your family, your church and for every group God makes you a part of.

So that’s how you need to view the Body of Christ, brethren:

  • Not everyone is like you
  • You need people who are not like you
  • We function best when everyone embraces, appreciates and joyfully lives in the differences, each of you doing what God created you to do

God’s plan for the Body is for every one of us, you and me together, to be the part He’s designed us to be. And when you learn to not only accept, but love that truth you’ll find the gifts of others strengthening you in ways you never even imagined.

 “God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

My challenge to you is to live that truth out with every group of believers that you interact with, and most especially your local church.

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Rainstorms and Prayers

A few months ago, I woke up early in the morning and didn’t want to get up. I was supposed to go to the gym end didn’t want to. I wanted to sleep. To be lazy. To avoid improving my life really. So I wrote the following:


I think the gym became an example or an analogy of me. I’m overweight. I get winded walking up two flights of steps or up my driveway to get the trash cans. My body is woefully out of shape and I know what it needs: better eating and exercise.

Yet I eat junk and avoid doing anything active.

I didn’t go back to sleep.

It might have been the rainstorm. I love ( when there’s no water getting in the house) the sound of a storm. The powerful thunder, the rain pattering on the roof and the yard and the driveway like a beautiful chord accompanied by the percussion section of a drum corps.

And so for some reason even though I could barely see the screen through tired eyes I knew I needed to write–to write about the power of God and the weakness of me.

That same week I had preached a message to our staff on prayer and anxiety. From Philippians 4:6-7:

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV  – Bible Gateway

And today? I feel like a hypocrite because I’m fretting and dwelling on life’s issues and not praying. Not giving thanks. And therefore not finding peace.

The funny thing about hypocrisy? There’s always a choice to set it aside. And so I will right now stop what I’m doing and let my requests flow to God’s ears….with the symphony of the thunderstorm as the oh so appropriate background track.

Returning Good for Evil

Paul Tripp’s Wednesday email last week was on a great topic…what it means to return good for evil (Romans 12:14ff) and a particular example from his own life where it bore the fruit we all hope for in such an instance.  It’s a great read:

We lived in a twin house, with our landlady living in the attached home with her adult daughter. For reasons we couldn’t understand, the daughter began to get mad at us. She would yell and curse at our children. She would play her stereo very loudly late at night, waking our children. She did everything she could to make our lives miserable. We didn’t understand what was happening and everything we tried to do to make things better only made things worse.

Read the rest here.

One of my favorite books is Jay Adams’ How to Overcome Evil which is on this same topic, giving great practical application for that second half of Romans 12 where Paul walks through principles of how to respond when others make your life difficult.  Here’s the passage:

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

It’s counter-intuitive, overcoming evil by means of doing good (feeding your enemy, for example), but that’s God’s upside down way to victory.  If you’ve got someone difficult in your life that you’re struggling with, take some time to meditate on this passage and how God would have you respond to cursing with blessing.

The Wrong Address

I read a great note from Paull Tripp the other day that was really helpful to me, and thought it might be  for some of you.  Here’s a snippet:

1. When and where you live is never a mistake. Although many of the things that have shaped your story are out of your control, they’re under the careful administration of the God who not only created the world, but is the ultimate definition of everything that’s wise, good, loving, and true.

2. Your life hasn’t worked according to your plan because it’s part of a bigger plan. There is One who is Lord of heaven and earth. He’s written your personal story into his grand redemptive story. He welcomes you out of your own little kingdom of self to be part of his wonderful, big-sky kingdom.

3. God has you just where he wants you….

via The Wrong Address.

Click the link and read the whole thing!  I think you’ll be encouraged that you’re right where God wants you to be right now.