Sowers of Dissension

The last two abominations break from the pattern of using body parts as illustrations. The Lord finds these activities detestable, and they are linked together because they have similar effects on the community of God’s people.

  1. A false witness who utters lies

Rare are the truth tellers, and many are those who deliberately misrepresent the facts. When we have the opportunity to defend another’s character or set the record straight among those who are bad-mouthing a certain individual, the temptation is great to either chime in and agree or remain silent and allow the character assassination to continue. But the Lord hates such actions. As we discussed earlier, God’s character is truth. Deception is the favorite tool of Satan, who loves nothing more than to drive God’s people apart. When we lie, we side with the devil against God and His people.

Let us pray, “Lord, free me from whatever fears I have so that my witness will be true, based on accurate facts!”

  1. One who spreads strife among brothers

When two people experience a conflict, we have a choice to make. We can reinforce the division, or we can encourage reconciliation. Anything we say regarding their dispute will accomplish one or the other. Furthermore, we can also use that opportunity to pull the community together or to encourage members to take sides. Again, anything we say to others about the matter will accomplish one or the other.

Observe how Paul the apostle discussed a dispute in an open letter to the community of believers in Philippi:

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:2–9)

Note that Paul did not take sides or encourage their community to become polarized by the dispute. Paul had them focus on Christ, on God’s faithfulness, on the beauty of the gospel, and on their common bond in the kingdom of God. He intended his every word to restore unity rather than perpetuate strife.

Let us pray, “Lord, make me a peacemaker.”

We may frequently think about the love of God, but all too seldom do we meditate on the things He hates. We should! Believe me, we need to pay attention when God’s Word says He hates these things. Our efforts to correct and control each abomination need to be as intense as His abhorrence of them.

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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