Understand the heart of God!

Proverbs 6:16-19 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.

It’s a sad thing, as we've been traveling, to discover the number of congregations that have split over non-Biblical issues. I’ve heard nightmare stories of congregations splitting over the color of carpet! I find it amazing how easily the enemy can work his way into the body of Messiah and operate in the fleshly realm. The success level of his diabolical tactics is embarrassing and infuriating, and I want to implore my brothers and sisters to awaken to this damaging process, to gain an understanding of Satan's strategies, and reverse this destructive pattern.

This particular proverb expresses the objects of God's hatred. While I could do a series on the passage, I want to focus on what He calls an abomination. Notice the first six things are those which God hates … but the seventh is an abomination! Few words carry the weight of that degree of our Father's displeasure. One who sows discord among the brethren is someone that God despises. Why such a strong reaction? Perhaps by understanding the reverse of discord, that is, spiritual unity, we may begin to grasp the Lord's hatred of the actor who works to destroy it. Psalm 133 describes the beauty and excellence of spiritual unity:

"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments. As the dew of Mount Hermon that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life forevermore.

Spiritual unity is where the blessing of eternal life is ordained and experienced, and is evidence of the sweet presence of God's Holy Spirit (symbolized by the oil on Aaron's beard). It is the absolute essence of God's nature, character, and work, and when experienced among His people, is among the most beautiful things in all creation. But where spiritual unity is corrupted and/or destroyed, in the context of his people, God Himself is maligned and the hypocrisy grieves His Spirit and damages His witness; and the reconciling work of His cross is rendered ineffective for those involved. And the result is downright ugly!

It should, therefore, be a frightening thing to engage oneself in sowing or promoting disunity among the saints. And yet it seems to be a common phenomenon. Perhaps, at one time or another most of us have found some "justifiable" reason to malign a brother or sister for petty or superficial reasons. This should simply stop. We need to take the time to discern the true importance of a controversial issue, first of all; and then determine how to lovingly present our concern. Leaders need to powerfully exemplify patience and wisdom in the context of controversies; to determine whether they are doctrinal, cultural, or simply issues of personal preference; and then, to powerfully exhort the parties to humble and deferential dialogue. We simply must strive to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace...and exemplify the character and work of Messiah.

Much could be said on this subject, but suffice to say here that this is an issue of character. Our responsibility is to build up and not tear down; to encourage one another in the faith, even when we are "sharpening iron"! Be mindful of the things that God hates. Seek peace and pursue it; don't make mountains from molehills; little children, love one another.

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