The Secret Hater
As you may have discovered, I love the book of Proverbs. It’s the instruction manual to a life well lived. In it are so many gems and mic drop moments. Reading the book of Proverbs hurts so good. Yes, you read that correctly. The conviction and reproof I get from reading this text is sobering. I am reminded of my imperfections yet encouraged to do life better.
Most days I read a Proverb a day along with responding to the reflection questions in my devotional. Day 26 rolled around and I had the pleasure * peep the sarcasm * of reading about fools, the lazy, haters and liars. Several scriptures stood out to me. (Sidebar: I am undertaking a healing journey where I’m required to not only be aware of what’s on the surface but also acknowledge and ultimately uproot what’s underneath. I’ve identified poisonous fruits of resentment, blame, self-righteousness, sarcasm and pride as areas that not only displease God but also limit my capacity to serve people.)
From the New Living Translation, the following scriptures rubbed me the wrong way, yet with good intention:
- 26:12–“There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise.”
- 26:24– “People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you.”
- 26:28– “A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattering words cause ruin.”
We are typically our own worst critic. However, I believe when we identify areas of improvement as morsels and crumbs to be uprooted then we avoid them becoming loaves.
Verse 12 highlights a person being wise in their own conceit; prideful. I have personally dealt with pride in various forms; reluctance in asking for help, being a know it all, and disregarding wise counsel. I’ve learned that acknowledging God is the best fix to destroy pride and the headache it causes.
Verse 24-26 describes the secret hater; one who is a deceitful wordsmith with ill motives. I’ve most definitely fallen into the enemy’s trap of comparison and competition. I even experienced possessive and territorial behavior as if to conclude no other well intentioned person could contribute to the life of others as I did. Thinking myself better than another was the root of my stagnation. As a result of my natural self-awareness, I sought to rectify this issue.
I asked God for greater discernment to identify the trap. I followed this up with gratitude. I had to remind myself of what I had and have been gifted to steward. Finally, I sought God’s word to confirm my contentment (Philippians 4:12-13).
Lastly, verse 28 calls out the hatred of a liar. In The Passion Translation it reads, “hatred is the root of slander and insecurity the root of flattery.” This is what you call a backhanded compliment. “Girl, that lipstick is fire.” Then as she walks away you whisper to a friend, “that color makes her lips look ashy.”
I’ve had “mean girl” moments, especially when someone else’s boldness sheds a light on my fear and self doubt. However, with discernment, gratitude and contentment, I’ve learned to turn compliments into conversation starters to learn more about a person. With genuine care as my intention, I’m able to connect to the heart of a person and see beneath the surface.
At the end of the day, we’re all icebergs; displaying only 25% of who we are on the surface while the depth of who we are is unseen. Seeing others through the eyes of God leads us to compassion; highlighting the brokenness of humanity. When we make it our priority to understand rather than seek to be understood, we experience the transformative work of the Holy Spirit to go from secret hater to transparent lover.