Social Sins and Sowing Discord (Prov. 6:19)
Sowing Discord and Social Sins
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. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
The poetic structure of Prov. 6:16-19 seems to be:
A) Haughty Eyes
B) Deceptive Tongue
C) Hands Shed Innocent Blood
CENTER) Heart Devising Wicked Plans
C’) Feet Running to Evil
B’) Breathing Lies as a False Witness
A’) Sows Discord
Sowing discord or dissension is the final step in the downward spiral of these seven sins. This “strife” is attributed in Proverbs to contentious, quarreling people (21:9; 26:21; 25:24) who have a short fuse (15:18). The motivation is clear: “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs” (Prov. 10:12). In the New Testament, Paul places it in the list “envy, malice, and strife.” He begins with #1: “He is puffed up with conceit . . . He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of financial gain” (1Tim. 6:5 ESV/NIV).
It is “brothers” who create strife among us by  pride,  deception,  malicious actions,  wicked plans . . . . We must repent of this behavior. The cause and effect of this kind of discord is a lack of trust. It is losing faith in the God’s sovereignty. If we look on others with “evil suspicions” or we accept slander, then a breach of trust is inevitable. Christians are to have an initial and implicit trust relationship with other believers. Paul speaks of our posture: Love “always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:6-7).
Heidelberg Catechism Question 112 provides a helpful summary: What does the ninth Commandment require? That I bear false witness against no one, twist no one's words, be no backbiter or slanderer, join in condemning no one unheard and rashly; but that on pain of God's heavy wrath I avoid all lying and deceit as the very works of the devil; and that in matters of judgment and justice and in all other affairs I love, speak honestly and confess the truth; also, insofar as I can, defend and promote my neighbor's good name.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more