Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV) ”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.”
I’m going to key in on the “heart that devises wicked plans”. This is a total self serving attitude with evil motives toward splitting up a church or trying to get their way over matters of judgement and doing and/or saying about anything, in order to reach their goal. When someone looks for things to complain about and criticize constantly over matters of opinon, then they have a heart that is not pleasing to God. It’s one thing to criticize in a construtive manner, but when the Bible talks about building each other up and looking for the good in others including giving people the benefit of the doubt over things, we should look for ways to strengthen the body of Christ every way possible. I Thess. 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing”. Paul said in Phil. 2:1-2, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind”. Let’s quit pushing our own agenda, and think about what’s good for the whole body of Christ and that which is pleasing to God. People as a whole, avoid the troublemakers at congregations, and for good reason, negativity is contagious, and the troublemakers seem to gravitate to each other because nobody else wants to be a part of their heart that devises evil plans. What kind of reputation do you want to exhibit among God and Christians?
The Apostle Paul instructed the church at Corinth to “not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking, be mature” (I Corinthians 14:20, NASB). As Christians, we should not have evil desires or wrong motives, but be wise and unselfish.
In my 51 years on this earth, I’ve seen too much discord, often born out of selfish ambition, sown in the church by so called Christians. There are people who have become spiritually arrogant, thinking they are more “spiritually minded” than others. They often place men’s writings ahead of and/or in place of God’s inspired word. I have many excellent books written by human beings, but they need to be read in the proper perspective, as written by men who are uninspired and have flaws.
Paul said in I Corinthians 1:20 (NASB), “has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than man” (I Corinthians 1:25, NASB). Humanly devised philosophical systems are meaningless because they many times have the wrong concept of God and His revelation. This has caused many a man’s downfall and leads to sin, especially discord generated in the church.
God lists 7 things that he hates in Proverbs 6:16-19; the last is “one who spreads strife among brothers.” I’ve seen more division in the church caused by contentious people who want to control a congregation than caused by false doctrine. Paul warned the Ephesian Elders about this in Acts 20:27-30 when he told them that in their own congregation, “men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves.”
This is sad, but so true because you see groups of people following men, starting other congregations where sound congregations already exist, in order to have control and do things their way. This might not be sinful in and of itself, but their motives in changing things because it becomes their idea is wrong.
The church at Corinth had more problems than any congregation on earth; they were told to work out their problems God’s way. Paul describes the attributes of Love in I Corinthians 13, which should be our standard of conduct in every situation in life. Let our lives be filled with the fruit of the spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23 and crucify the flesh with its passions and desires as the peerless Apostle Paul stated. Only then will we live a productive life in the service for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and be the “salt of the earth.”