I can get along with just about anyone…but a haughty, stuck-up, prideful person really gets on my nerves. Or when profanity slips off a person tongue easier than butter on hot corn-on-the-cob, I feel as if I need to clean out my ears. When I encounter these kinds of attitudes I have to send up a quick prayer that goes something like this, “Lord, bless their hearts. Please help me love them like Jesus loves them.” That might sound cliché but it helps me to adjust my attitude towards them. When I love them like Jesus loves them, I can see the person and not the attitude. However, pride is something that is easy to see in other people, but we rationalize it within ourselves. We are all guilty of pride.
It’s important for us to remember that God loves all people…enough that He sent His son to die for them. So when we read in Proverbs 8:13 that God hates arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech, it’s the attitude and behavior that he hates. Not the person. In this verse, we see a progression occurring. It begins in the heart with pride and arrogance. Once born there, it births evil conduct and perverse speech. In Matthew 12:34, Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” James wrote, “no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8) When evil dwells within our hearts, it is revealed in our actions and our words.
A prideful heart is one that says it doesn’t need anyone or anything to get through life…including God. This person relies solely on themselves and leaves God out of the picture. Pride is a heart condition that replaces God’s reign in one’s life and chooses to seat himself on the throne. He chooses what is right or wrong for himself, ignoring what God has to say. In Proverbs 6:16-17, there is a list of things that God hates and the first thing on the list? Haughty eyes. A person with haughty eyes will look through his own superiority to look down on other people. Over in Proverbs 16:5, Solomon wrote, “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” An arrogant heart will not love others. It will feast off anger and bitterness and pass judgment. It will ridicule and belittle others. It will criticize and mock. An arrogant heart believes in its own intellect, morality, and spirituality. It is obsessed with self and its own achievements. Pride is the root cause of every other sin. Immorality, anger, greed, drunkenness, lying, jealousy, gossip…every single sin has pride as its deepest root.
Not only does God hate pride, but He also hates perverse speech. Most of us probably first think of “cussing” or “taking God’s name in vain” when we talk about perverse speech. Certainly that is included. However, what about telling a dirty or inappropriate joke? What about gossiping or lying? What about slandering another person? Would not these also be “perverse”? In Luke 6:44-45, Jesus taught, “For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (NASB) Basically, Jesus is saying that whatever words come out of our mouths proves what is in our hearts. In Proverbs 6:12, Solomon wrote, “A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a perverse mouth.” The Hebrew word for “worthless” is “belial” and it means, “good for nothing in a moral sense.” Interestingly enough, the same word appears in the New Testament. In its Greek form, the word is used as a name for the devil. Since our words are formed and thought out at a heart level, the words we utter put the conditions of our heart on display for all the world to see. This ought to make us stop and think before we speak. Do our words lead others to Christ? Do our words set us apart from the world? If we truly understand and believe that our word express what is in our heart, what impression are we leaving on others? Is God honored by the words we say…even when no one else is around (because He is always there!)?
What are you treasuring in your heart? The choices you make each and every day in your attitudes, behaviors, and words are determined by what is in your heart. We can protect our hearts by changing our treasure. Psalm 119:9-16 tells us: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander form Your commandments. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. Lord, may You be praised; teach me Your statutes. With my lips I proclaim all the judgments from Your mouth. I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” We need to make sure we are in God’s Word daily, memorizing it, thinking deeply about what it says, and allowing it to change us from the inside out.