One more thing . . . or not


There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him. (Proverbs 6:16)

So I’m reading this and thinking, make up your mind, dude—are there six or seven.  I mean, this is important information for us earthly dweebs who would just as soon know what kind of stuff will for sure land us on the Deity’s to-be-toast menu. I don’t mind a little sin ambiguity from time to time—I do most of my best work in the gray areas—but if there are some definite no-no’s I sure as heck want to know about them ahead of time. Personally, I’d rather have just six to keep track of (and it sounds like the original writer had only six in mind too until somebody made a last-minute addendum), but if there have to be seven, then let’s nail them down and get on with it.

Here’s the list:

1) haughty eyes, 2) lying tongue, 3) hands that shed innocent blood, 4) a heart that devises wicked schemes, 5) feet that are quick to rush into evil, 6) a false witness who pours out lies, and the last-minute addition, 7) a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Except for the shedding innocent blood (unless you count accidentally knocking my kid’s tooth out one time), except for that, I’m pretty much in the clear if we define terms very carefully. For example, if by haughty we mean “unwarranted pride” then I’m cool. Nearly all my arrogance is justified. If by lying we mean deliberately misrepresenting the truth, I’m cool there too. My job is to damage the truth by means of artifice and duplicity—two completely different things. If we mean by wicked schemes things that produce no good, then I’m off the hook since I get a lot of good out of my schemes. And I simply do not rush into evil; I prefer to take my time and savor the moment.

I have a problem with number six. It seems to me that a false witness who pours out lies is the same as number two, a lying tongue. Maybe Solomon (or whoever) wrote these over a long period of time and forgot to check his work. Or maybe, in order to get up to the number seven, which is a very religious number, he had to fudge a bit to make it come out right. (I’ve done that a lot writing school essays. The secret is to say the same thing over and over in different words.) This interesting redundancy may bring our actual number on the hit list down to six.

The last item of divine hatred is not a problem for me either. There tends to be a lot of dissension about my contributions (this brilliant online devotional has gotten a few pointed editorial comments already), but most of the problems are not because of me, but because the dissenters are most likely guilty of the first five (or six) items on the list. Look, I can’t be responsible for the arrogant, lying, wicked, rushing evil feet of other people.

I can’t speak for you, but, as it stands, I come out pretty good here. It appears that of the published items that provoke God’s hatred, I’m at least able to position myself comfortably away from the brunt of divine wrath. I’m not saying I won’t get a little crispy around the edges but that some sunscreen and a good pair of shades will probably ward off any serious damage.

Now I’m going work on reducing the Ten Commandments to a more reasonable number, say three at the most. I’ll get back to you on that.


One Response

  1. Can you direct me to these “pointed editorials”? That would be entertaining reading indeed.

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