Controlling ourselves to avoid 7 things that God hates

We are advised to run towards the light of the Bible and away from this dark world.

In Proverbs chapter 6 and verses 16 to 19 there is a list of seven things which God hates.

These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

These verses start with the comment that God hates six things but then states that seven things are an abomination. Why are two different numbers being used here? The most likely explanation of the numbers chosen is that they represent man (six) and completeness (seven), therefore this is a complete list of the things which God hates in man.

The word “abomination” used in these verses means “abhorrence, something impure and unclean”. So these abominations are going directly against God’s divine nature whose essence is holiness.

A proud look

Pride is put at the top of the list because it is the main factor which drives men and women’s disobedience and rebellion against God’s laws. All the other abominations listed are the outcome of wounded pride. God knows that pride can occupy a place very deep in men’s hearts. He also knows that most sin comes about because of pride. That is why pride is at the top of the list of things who God is greatly opposed to.

The Bible has a lot to say about pride…..and it is all negative:

“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished" (Proverbs. 16:5);
“May the Lord cut off …the tongue that speaks proud things” (Psalm 12:3);
"God resists the proud…" (James. 4:6);
"For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon everyone that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and 'he shall be brought low" (Isaiah 2:12).

The scriptures also say that God “knows them from afar off”; and God will “bring down haughty [proud] looks”.

This is sobering when we remember that pride is the most subtle of sins. It can infiltrate into our best activities and defile them. Our prayer-life, our faith, our obedience to God, our willingness to self-sacrifice, our Bible knowledge, our ability to speak, and even our patience, can each and all give rise to self esteem and a sense of superiority over others.

So by now you can see that pride is the opposite of humility.

God is determined that the proud man shall not succeed in his defiance. Instead God wants us to seek a holiness which breathes the spirit of humility. Jesus said, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart”. There we have a precious insight into the deep springs of this own spotless life. There surely is the very beauty of holiness, the inner secret of the loveliness of Jesus. We, too, must be adorned “with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:4).

God has the final word on this:

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:6).
A lying tongue

Lying is hateful to God because he is the God of truth. Everything about God revolves around truth. His son was “the truth”:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6)

We are also told that God cannot lie:

God is not a man., that He should lie, (Numbers 23:19)
The message of salvation that God sent us is termed “the word of Truth”. (Colossians 1:5).

We can see that everything related to God is the truth. So the lying tongue is listed in “the things which God hates” because it is contrary to everything that is precious to God and profitable to men.

Unfortunately, lying has been part of man from the beginning. Just think about the history of man – at the creation of man it was a lie that led to Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden – this in turn led to the downfall of mankind.

It was also a lie that led to the leprosy of Gehazi:

Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, “Where did you go, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant did not go anywhere.” Then he said to him, “Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.” And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow. (2 Kings 5:25-27)

We need to understand, that there are not different levels of a lie from harmless to serious. The Bible reveals that God does not recognise any lie as ” little ” or ” white.” All lies are serious before God. Neither does God recognise untruthfulness as an escape from a position disadvantageous to ourselves. ” He that keeps his mouth, keeps his life, but he that opens wide his lips, shall have destruction.”

The 100% truth is the only acceptable position to God.

Hands that shed innocent blood

The proud man often resorts to lying to protect his image. If someone detects he is lying he will often do away with that person by murder. The person is innocent but his blood is shed because he knows too much. However, one of the Ten Commandments handed down to the great leader Moses was “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). This command is based on the fact that man is created in the image of God. God’s goal is to immortalise man – however, murder is a way of frustrating that purpose.

Examples of hands that shed innocent blood are:
Cain (Genesis 4:8-12)
Manasseh (2 Kings 21:15-16)
God’s son – Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:31-38)

A heart that devises wicked plans

The heart is number four in this list (three abominations before and three after) because it is the fountain of all these vices.

The “heart” (i.e. the mind) is the source of sin. Many men make their heart a workshop where they fabricate and prepare many wicked plans. These are so degraded that the only way they can obtain pleasure is by doing evil. They make themselves feel good by seeing others suffer. However, the evil plans of the heart of these men planned in secret are open and clear to God.

We need to fill our heart (i.e. mind) with the knowledge of God – this way we leave no room for any evil which may have dwelt there in the past.

Feet that are swift in running to evil

This is talking about sinners. The wantonness of the sinners is very well expressed by the verb “running”. The sinners are so powerfully motivated to do evil that they are not content with the usual pace of man. The lesson for believers is to hasten and run but not towards evil but rather towards the things of the Bible.

A false witness who speaks lies

Lying is already covered above (see sin #2). This sin of being a false witness is referring to something which is expressly forbidden under the moral code set up in the Old Testament:

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. (Exodus 20:16)

To falsely slander the character of another is to bear false witness against him. We need to bear in mind that Christ “is the silent listener to every conversation” and will execute judgment on those who bear false witness, whilst he will also vindicate the righteous.

Whoever secretly slanders his neighbour, him I will destroy; the one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure. My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in a perfect way, he shall serve me. (Psalm 101:5-6)

James wrote at length on the need to keep a guard on our tongue. In other words, be very careful what we say. He pointed out that the man who learns to control what he says, is a perfect man.

James goes on to illustrate that as it is impossible for a fountain to send forth sweet and bitter water at the same place, or a fig tree to produce olives, so the tongue of the person endowed with wisdom from above will not defile itself by speaking evil. For, he says:

". . . . the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits" (James 3:17).

We need the help of God’s Word in this matter of controlling our tongues.

One who sows discord among brethren.

We are instructed to avoid those who cause divisions.

Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans Ch.16:17-18)

The sowing of discord amongst fellow baptised believers (brethren) is one of the most poisonous in its influence and eats at the life of the church (like a canker or gangrene does to flesh). Following the positive commands of Christ we must hear no evil, think no evil, speak no evil.


If we think about these sins we find that they are talking about our thoughts, speech, actions and influence – all things which are central to our day to day lives.

a proud lookAttitude
a lying tongueSpeech
hands that shed innocent bloodAction
a heart that devises wicked plansThought
feet that are swift in running to evilAction
a false witness who speaks liesSpeech
one who sows discord among brethrenInfluence

Our thoughts, our speech, our actions and how we influence others, are the things we need to continually monitor – as these are areas where we can fall down before God if we are not careful. However, on the positive side, these same areas can all be used for good in our worship of God.