Tag Archives: Sin

Hating Evil, Not People

Proverbs 8:13

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”

 God Hates

This is something most Christians, and most non-Christians, do not like to discuss … at least in the Western culture.

This is not the hatred people like those from Westboro Baptist Church preach. They preach that God wants to send people to Hell, that God hates you because of your choices.

One of my most favorite definitions of evil is “the absence of God.” Therefore, God hates those things that separates God from us.

Pride

You can take pride in something, in that you take joy in something (something most people mean). The pride that is evil is when it elevates us or something to the place of God.

This is the problem with Gay Pride parades. This is the problem with much of the sports world. This is the problem with Hollywood. This is the problem with some patriotism (not just for the USA. The Nazi’s and Russians proved during the 20th Century what patriotism gone crazy can do).

Pride elevates and celebrates everything more than it should be, especially if it is something that should not be celebrated. The first thing that comes to mind is being a “player”, or simply being sexually promiscuous. Our society has done an amazing job of promoting sex.

Arrogance

The by-product of pride is arrogance. Why does God hate arrogance?

Arrogance says “I am better than you! I can do this better than everyone! I know what I am doing!”

This might be true, but this is like saying “I am better, and you are worthless.”

Many Christians throughout the centuries have been guilty of this, as well.

These are the Christians who look down on non-Christians for being impure and sinful (Luke 18:9-14).

These are the Christians who have stood outside of abortion clinics calling women sluts and sinners.

These are the Christians who say they believe the only right way to believe.

The Evil Way, The Froward

It is easy to see that it can be quite easy to stray.

The evil way is any way that is against or not with God.

A froward mouth does not have to use “four-letter words”, but can be the one who promotes evil, praises the self, or blasphemes God.

Blasphemy of God includes cursing and swearing, sure; but it also includes denigrating others, false teachings, or even bad teachings.

All of these God hates.

But God never hates you. Period.

Dear Lord, teach us to hate what You hate. Teach us to love all people regardless of their actions and words. Strengthen us to follow the right path – Your path.

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Starting Fights?

Proverbs 3:30

“Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.”

My dad and I have some similar stories from our youths. He was a lot rougher than I, but we both had our ways of treating other people which were not as wholesome as they could have been.

My dad was the kind of boy who would disrupt class because he could. He would start fights and usually finish them, too. He would even punch a guy for looking at him the wrong way.

I would occasionally physically respond/retaliate/initiate with people (especially my younger siblings), but my weapon of choice was words. I would stretch the truth to see what I could get away with saying. I would tell someone a mis-truth (using elements of truth) to get a reaction. I would start rumors to watch the impending chaos.

Usually, the other person/people had done nothing to us, at least not meriting our actions.

The rest of Proverbs paints a picture that people such as the younger me and my dad are wicked and destined for destruction.

The NIV states the verse this way:

Do not accuse a man for no reason—    when he has done you no harm.

There may not be anyone on this planet truly innocent, but we can be innocent of certain things. When we prey on the innocence of others through deceit, violence, malice, or just because they were the ones in our way at that moment, our victims are innocent.

Keep in mind, the person who said “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood,” the blood of Jesus, was an Apostle. Judas Iscariot, a man who walked and talked with Jesus for about three years and knew Him intimately, accused the Son of God and had Him dragged away to death.

We need to remember that though we spend time going to church services and even reading our Bible, if we do not put our faith into action we can easily slip into sin.

We need to remember that we all, like Judas Iscariot, have accused Jesus and put Him on that cross.

We need to remember that only the Holy Spirit can truly guide us in all righteousness.

Precious Lord, thank You for your forgiveness of our lies and abuses, for putting You on the cross. Thank You that You have redeemed our lives. Guide us by Your Holy Spirit every moment to not bring harm to the innocent but to lift them up and lead them to You.


They Turned

Proverbs 1:31-33

Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

As we have learned over the past several days, a fool turns away from God and wisdom. They essentially repent of God. They may have logic and reason, but do they have wisdom?

Turning from Wisdom

The “New Atheists” of today (such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris) are indeed very intelligent. However, they tend to be rather mean-spirited in their attacks on religion and faith, and in the process fail to see their own hypocrisy. They, too, work on faith in many things, for humanity does not yet have all of the answers. They need faith that everything they claim as truth is true or that we will verify them as true in the future.

Another group of those who have turned away from God are criminals of all sorts. There are many criminals who are very intelligent, yet the evidence of the lack of wisdom is that they commit crimes. One of the greatest examples of intelligent criminals is Leopold and Loeb. These two young friends (who graduated college young) were 19 and 18, respectively, when they decided to commit the perfect crime. They kidnapped and killed Loeb’s 14-year-old second-cousin Bobby Franks. The only physical problem with their crime was that Leopold accidentally dropped his custom-made eyeglasses where they left the body. In other words, they were eventually caught. With all of their intelligence, they lacked the wisdom to not commit any crimes.

Consequences

Turning away from wisdom and God is not only dangerous, it has dire consequences. Whether it is dealing with hurt feelings, broken relationships, jail/prison time, or any other consequence, there are always consequences. The worst, by far, is eternal condemnation.

Father, forgive us when we fail to seek your wisdom and heed Your call. Help us remember to pray for those who do not know You, and give us the wisdom  to know how to interact with all people. We thank You that took the ultimate consequence upon Yourself through the cross for those of us who believe. We praise You and pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


Enticing Trap

Proverbs 1:10-19

My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. (11) If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: (12) Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: (13) We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: (14) Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: (15) My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: (16) For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. (17) Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. (18) And they lay wait for their [own] blood; they lurk privily for their [own] lives. (19) So [are] the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; [which] taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

We Were Sneaky

When my brother and I were children, we had this nasty tendency to take anything we wanted. My brother would put candy from the grocery store in his diaper. I would just eat the candy I grabbed (not from his diaper!). Our parents tried as hard as they could to get us to not take things that were not ours.

As I grew older, I wanted to be a spy. Therefore, I worked on ways of being extra sneaky, and this sometimes meant taking things I either wanted or thought would be difficult to get away with taking. Sometimes, my brother and I would work together. Sometimes I would entice friends to help.

Almost every time we got caught. There are consequences to all of our actions. We all must one day stand before the Judge.

Don’t Consent

There is another way to look at this passage than simply stealing things and inflicting bodily harm on others.

Whenever we allow others to tell us “Do not concern yourself with them,” even for prayer or offering a helping hand or just a shoulder to cry on, we are consenting to sinful enticement. We are commanded to love all people and help as we are able.

Whenever we do or say things to fit in with other people, we are casting in our lot with sinners.

Whenever we skip tithing or offering to avoid an inconvenience or get something we want, we are not only stealing from God, we hastily shed the blood of our Savior and lay wait for our own blood.

With God, every time we get caught. There are consequences for all of our actions. Yet, the Author of Life has made a way for us.

Choose life. Choose love. Choose God.

We all must one day stand before the Judge. May it be wholly as His redeemed.

Holy God, lead us in Your way, and give us the strength to resist temptation and hatred. Give us Your wisdom, in Jesus’ name.

 


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 3

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. -Matthew 3:5-6

angelic architecture art baptism

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With repentance comes confession. Even in the time of Advent, when we look forward to the coming Messiah, we must remember the importance of confession:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. -Romans 10:9

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. -James 5:16, KJV

As we prepare for the Messiah, it has to include the preparation of our hearts, as we confess our sins to God and to others and are baptized.

God in Heaven, we have sinned against You. As we confess, we thank You that You are faithful to forgive.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent

Welcome to the second week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the second week of Advent is about preparing ourselves for the coming Messiah, with John the Baptizer being our model. This is when our focus turns from the promises to fulfillment of Messiah. Obviously, there is a connection between each week, as we begin by looking out our need for the promised Savior, and then we move to finding the truth of the living Savior.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. -Isaiah 40:3, KJV (see Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4)

John was prophesied centuries before either he or his cousin, Jesus, lived. John is also the final of the Old Testament Prophets. He was the last to prophecy the coming Messiah before Jesus began His ministry.

He was an ascetic – someone who separates from society in many ways through denying comforts and desires, including diet and habits, for religious purposes. (See Numbers 6 to understand more of John’s asceticism, known as the Nazirite vow.) He seemed pretty crazy and weird, but he laid the groundwork for the Messiah.

What did this mean?

He called out sin, decried fame, and [literally] pointed to the Lamb of God, the Messiah.

As Christians – believers in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus – we are likewise called to point to the Savior. We are to prepare the the way for His return and encroaching Kingdom.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
-Matthew 28:18-20

How are you pointing others to Jesus?

Good Lord, give us a passion for sharing the Good News of Jesus – to call out sin, love people, and glorify Your Name.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 7

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. -Isaiah 1:18, KJV

agriculture animals baby blur

Photo by Trinity Kubassek on Pexels.com

As we finish out the first week of Advent, we look back at Isaiah. He was able to hear directly from God that He was coming to wash away all of our sins.

The irony of this is that God calls our sins scarlet – dark red – and will be washed white as snow and wool, and this by the washing through His own blood. His red blood washes us whiter than snow.

And He says, “Come and talk to with me about it. I will show you your sin and need for a Savior, and then I will show you how you can be cleaned and saved.” (A slight paraphrase of the verse above.)

The Prophets looked forward to the coming Messiah, and we can point the world today to that Messiah who is come and will come again.

Lord, thank You for washing us clean. Give us Your words and wisdom to share this good news with the world.