Wednesday

]” (v. 16)

Proverbs 6:12-19 Wednesday 7 September 2016

Psalm: Psalm 150

 

Background

Here we have the actual biblical list of 'seven deadly sins':pride, lying (deception), killing, evil scheming (conspiracy),trouble-making, lying, creating enmity. It is worth noting thatlying appears twice. In the absence of robust and inevitableconsequence, these may actually be the actions and behaviours ofsuccess, having much in common with marketing and politics - rathertoo much the more we think about it. An advantage of clearlydefined descriptions of what is good or wicked is that it allowsstraightforward, or simple, thinking - wisdom is not complicated.Governments will justify the deaths of innocents caused by them as'collateral damage' (drone strikes) or as achieving the greatergood (Hiroshima and Nagasaki). The kinds of warfare that we areable to wage and are willing to do so are well outside Just War'theory'. But we must not dwell too much on the negative.

Surely this text invites a more positive reading - 'Six thingsthe Lord loves, seven fill God with delight - a humble outlook, anhonest tongue, hands that protect the innocent, a mind devoted toserving others, feet that run to do good, a reliable personspeaking the truth, a woman who is committed to peace andreconciliation.' Wisdom does not consist in listing what isdeficient, or evil, but in striving to do better. The book ofProverbs itself does not seem to have such a positive outlook, mostof its exhortations are to do with avoiding the consequences ofselfish actions. This no doubt reflects the time and outlook of itscontext, or the ongoing reality of the human heart. Reading it now,it may stir us to respond, if we read it positively, or askourselves why 'good' government does so much which is denounced asbad, even under the cover of being a 'Christian' country.


To Ponder

  • What do you think of these 'seven deadly sins'? What would youinclude in your list of them?
  • How do you respond to positive and negative messages inScripture?
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