Following God’s Word seems easy enough. Do this and don’t do that. But when it comes to the matters of the heart, sometimes God’s word is hard to follow. How does a person follow every single instruction in the Bible? Are there certain instructions that are more important than others? While all sin is heartbreaking to God, there are seven deadly sins He truly hates and says are an abomination to Him.
Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “There are six evils God truly hates and a seventh that is an abomination to him: Putting others down while considering yourself superior, spreading lies and rumors, spilling the blood of the innocent, plotting evil in your heart toward another, gloating over doing what’s plainly wrong, spouting lies in false testimony, and stirring up strife between friends. These are entirely despicable to God!” (The Passion Translation)
Praise the Lord for laying out these sins so deliberately, because it means we can not only learn them, we can find breakthrough to help us overcome them. In order to find what these seven deadly sins look like in today’s world and discover breakthrough, we have to tackle each of these seven deadly sins one by one:
1. Putting Others Down While Considering Yourself Superior
Imagine you are walking down the street with a loved one and you see a homeless person sitting on the sidewalk ahead. Rather than continue your journey on the path you have chosen, you decide to cross the street to avoid them. Even across the street, you do your best to not make eye contact with this individual.
Mark 12:31 says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (ESV) If you begin to see that you are not loving those around you as you should, try finding intentional time to spend with those hard to love. Volunteer at a soup kitchen and sit down next to the men and women. Listen to their stories and ask questions about their life. If it’s a co-worker you find yourself putting down, try asking that co-worker out to lunch or catching up with him or her in the breakroom. Once you start to get to know those around you, it makes it easier to love them, because you start to realize they are human just like you.
2. Spreading Lies and Rumors
Sitting down at your desk for the day, you overhear a co-worker mention something about another co-worker’s drinking habits. They casually toss around the word alcoholism. Rather than letting those words go in one ear and out the other, you turn to another co-worker and say “Did you know Stan was an alcoholic?” The next week you find out Stan has been fired because he had been accused of drinking on the job. That same evening you run into Stan at a local restaurant only to hear Stan confide in you that he’s only had two drinks in his life and can’t come to terms why he was fired for a ridiculous rumor.
If you hear someone gossiping about another individual, ask yourself if repeating what you heard will build people up or tear them down. Ephesians 4:29 says “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV). If you find yourself in a situation where it would tear someone down, stay out of it.
3. Spilling the Blood of the Innocent
Not only does this look like a first-hand murder in today’s world, it can also include the end result of any decision we might make. Imagine heading to the voting polls without any knowledge of the proposed questions or candidates. You skim the content and check a box. After the results are tallied, you hear on the news the question you voted in favor of passed and now more money will be provided to fund organizations directly or indirectly involved in spilling the blood of the innocent.
Do your research. Not everyone is going to murder someone, but we are sometimes faced with decisions to support people, organizations, or situations that lead to this unfortunate reality. Proverbs 22:17 instructs us to “listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction.” (NLT)
4. Plotting Evil in Your Heart Toward Another
You and your spouse are sitting in your Church community group. Another couple shares the exciting news that they are pregnant with their first baby. A deep pain sears your heart because you and your spouse have been trying to have a baby for years with no success. You notice you start wishing they weren’t pregnant and imagining them experience a little bit of the pain you’ve experienced throughout the past few years.
When a person has evil in his or her heart toward someone, it is often because there is a deeper sin in the picture. In the example above with the couple trying to have a baby, jealousy gripped them. Before they could be happy and rejoice with their friends, they had to face the reality that jealousy was creating bitterness and evil in their hearts. If you don’t know what’s creating the evil in your heart, ask the Lord. Psalms 26:2 says, “Examine me, O LORD, and try me; Test my mind and my heart.” (NASB) God is faithful, and he will answer the cry of your heart.
5. Gloating Over Doing What’s Plainly Wrong
Sitting down at the Thanksgiving dinner table, you boast in how much turkey and stuffing you ate the year before. You say no one can beat your turkey consumption and boast in your gluttonous abilities. However, what you fail to mention is that the year before you ate so much it made you ill.
The bible clearly says gluttony is a sin. So how do you overcome things like this? Make a plan and stick to it. Share your meal plan strategy with a friend or family member for accountability. This will allow you what you need to continue following God’s word, even during one meal of the day. James 4:17 says “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (ESV)
6. Spouting Lies in False Testimony
Opening a document at work on your computer, you notice a few areas where your boss has smudged the ethical line. Rather than do proper research for an upcoming presentation to the president of the company, they made up statistics that helped your case in order to land the new account. Rather than addressing the issue, you decide to go along with it, because landing this account means a better a bonus for you too.
Proverbs 12:22 says, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” (NIV) Do some personal research on your own to see if there are plausible opinions supporting your case. Set up a meeting to discuss the issue with your boss one on one. Remember that God is on your side and will lead you where you need to go. Just take a deep breath and know the truth is always the best decision.
7. Stirring Up Strife Between Friends
Moving to a new city, you want to make new friends. You finally find someone who you think you could be good friends with, only to discover they talk about their other friends all the time. Since you don’t know these other friends that well, you find negative things that can be used against them. You’re hoping this will create a division between your new friend and their old friends so that they only want to hang out with you.
1 John 4:19-21 says, “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (ESV) If you notice your heart plotting evil and stirring up strife between friends, ask for forgiveness. Humbly approaching your friends will allow them to see your sincerity and hopefully create better bonds between each of you.
Repentance is sometimes difficult, especially if sins have become habitual. Praise Jesus for the freedom he brings as you seek His word and engulf yourself in His truths. If you are still in need of how to discover breakthrough from any of these seven deadly sins, talk to a pastor, find an accountability partner or schedule some time to talk to a Christian counselor. Finding other believers to confide in provides a great stepping stone to overcoming these seven deadly sins.
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