There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him…
After the 2015 terrorist attack in Paris, I asked, is it wrong to hate evil?
In that article, I went on to explain how and why God hates evil. In this post, let’s look more closely at the verses that tell us about the 7 things God hates and discover why you and I should hate them, too.
7 Things God Hates
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
Believe me, I know there are people who are going to be bothered by the idea that God could hate. It’s so much easier to consider God as the benevolent granter of prayers and the maker of flowers, butterflies, and puppies. After all, God is love and love is the opposite of hate, right? They’re incompatible, aren’t they?
Of course it’s true that God is love (1 John 4:8), but God hates evil. We know this because His word instructs us in this and His word is absolutely reliable. And yes, love and hate are opposites, but they’re not always incompatible. In fact, did you know that the Bible actually instructs us to love good and to hate evil?
Ecclesiastes 3:8 reminds us that there is “a time to love and a time to hate.” And the original Hebrew word used there? Despite how many teachers may try to conclude it’s something else, it literally translates “to hate, be hateful.” The Greek translated it as “to detest,” and the primary word for that was hatred.
Gene, hate and hatred? Isn’t that a little strong? I mean, how in the world does ‘there are things God hates’ fit in with my Christianity of loving my neighbor and praying for those who are against me?
Good thing you asked.
Before you hit me in the head with a hundred verses on love, here’s how Biblical hatred works.
First, recognize that there certainly is evil and God himself hates it. Deuteronomy 16:22 says as much.
“And never set up sacred pillars for worship, for the LORD your God hates them.” (NLT)
Next, recognize that if God calls out certain things and detests them, then you and I should, too. You love your children, but if one of them has cancer, you hate that disease. You love spending time with your family, but if a rattlesnake joins your party and poisons your wife with it’s bite, you can hate that snake.
And as you probably already know, its a good idea to know what things God hates.
That’s just the way it is in this fallen world. There’s 2 sides to all of our coins. If there’s good, there’s evil. There is light, and there is darkness. If there is love, then there is hate.
The choice you have to make then is, will you love all that is right and detest what’s wrong? Or will you love sin and hate what is righteous?
These are Things that God Hates
Another way to say that is a prideful look. God hates pride because the prideful exalt themselves above Him, idolizing themselves. That’s what Lucifer did in heaven when, in pride, he sinned against God (Isaiah 14:13-14).
David said in Psalm 131:1 that his “heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.”
If we’re going to listen to someone talk about the destruction of pride, it might as well be King David. He was no stranger to that process.
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him…Proverbs 6:16
A Lying Tongue
Dishonesty. God hates it and we’ve all done it. Once again, something King David was familiar with. Remember when he had sex with his neighbor’s wife, and that guy ended up being one of his most loyal military officers? Remember when David tried to cover that up and ultimately had that man killed? That dishonesty eventually broke David’s spirit and may have been one of his huge regrets that led him to pray and confess as he did in the 51st Psalm.
Hands that Shed Innocent Blood
That’s fairly self-explanatory. Murder is wrong and punishable. There’s an ongoing debate that says pro-life automatically equals anti death penalty. I can’t jump to that conclusion. The typical argument presented is that the life of the murderer is considered to be “precious life” once it’s on trial.
I would agree that the soul of the murderer is precious, and that God loves him and Jesus died for him. While I certainly do not rejoice in capital punishment, I’m not ready to establish my own standard against God’s word that teaches a murderer is to be punished. The intentional, violent spilling of innocent blood is an abomination to God. These are His words, not mine. And God hates the hands that shed innocent blood.
Did you notice how these first 3 things God hates are characteristics of Lucifer? Pride, deceit, and violence…
A Heart that Devises Wicked Plans
Jesus mentions this as well. In Matthew 15:19, he said, “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.” That’s 7 things he listed, by the way.
Another way to look at this verse is “a deceitful heart.” Our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and telling someone to follow their heart is just bad advice. It’s much better if you pursue what God loves and confess what’s in your heart, surrendering those thoughts that you don’t want anyone to know about.
Feet that Make Haste to Run to Evil
Running quickly to sin. How many of us can say, “Whew. At least I don’t do that!” I can say that I don’t live in any habitual sin, but how many times do I hesitate before tearing myself away? Do your eyes linger a little more than they should on that enticing advertisement? Do you ever stew a little too long against someone who irritated you? You may not habitually “run to evil,” but do you always flee from sin as quickly as you should?
Did you notice that these first 5 things God hates deal with the moral character of a person? They also each represent a body part, working from the head to the heart and then the feet.
A False Witness who Breathes out Lies
This goes beyond the lies of “a lying tongue.” This represents someone who takes an oath and then intentionally spreads lies and misinformation. This can be someone on the witness stand of a courtroom, but it can also include those who misrepresent God.
You’ll never find a sinless pastor, but stay away from Bible teachers and pastors who don’t have accountability in their lives and who misrepresent the Gospel in and out of the pulpit. And when you give your word, keep it true.
One who Sows Discord Among Brothers
These are the saboteurs around you. In the workplace, among your friends, in your church, and probably even in your family, there’s that one person who causes trouble for everyone.
The term ‘among brothers’ used in this verse leads me to conclude that this is directed closer to home. This is speaking to the person who stirs up strife among relatives and within the fellowship of the church, causing misery where the nurturing of a family should be.
If this is you, seek forgiveness and stop it. If it’s someone you know, pray about how to address the problem. And then address it. Sorry, we don’t get to ignore things that God says he hates, and he hates strife and confusion within the family, whether it’s in your church or among your relatives.
Take This Home
Maybe some of these make you uncomfortable. Or maybe not. But if so, remember that scripture is like a mirror and sometimes when we see ourselves in that reflection, we either look away or we look more deeply.
God desires that we take that deeper look. His word can be convicting, and sometimes even condemning. However, the value of God’s word is that it builds us up and prepares us to glorify Him. Discovering things God hates and being honest about them is a best practice to take home.
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, in order that the person of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:16-17