God is quite serious about people living in such a way that is righteous, that is, in right relationship with others. He does not tolerate the wicked – those who only have regard for themselves and violate others with hateful speech and actions. At the core of God’s very being, he “hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” We are to be righteous because God is righteous; we are to hate wickedness because God hates it.
Anytime we talk about wickedness and righteousness, it typically is in the context of others who are violent and we who are not. This is, at best, misguided, and, at worst, flat-out a self-deception. It is easy to observe violence in others while ignoring our own part in wickedness. We rarely equate violence with our words, but the sheer fact is that our tongues are prone to violent speech. Whenever we seek to dominate a conversation; start an argument in order to win at all costs; put others down for their thoughts and ideas; engage in name-calling; or, speak against another behind his/her back; then we have come under the judgment of the God who abhors every form of violence.
We often feel justified in our violent speech because of our supposed pure motives. But this disregards the mental activity that takes place in our heads before we speak. Too many people are prone to jumping to conclusions and thus misinterpret another’s words and actions. If we would but stop and listen to ourselves, paying attention to the erroneous stories we can tell in an instant about others, then we would measure our words and seek to connect them with the righteous nature of God. Righteous deeds spring from righteous thoughts based in truth.
Holy God, your perfect character and righteousness has always been and always will be. Help me to connect so deeply with your goodness that my thoughts, words, and actions reflect your impeccable nature through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.