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The troublemaker

There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord among brothers. — Proverbs 6:16-19

Some people seem to have a nose for trouble. Their lives lurch from one crisis to the next. Those who live within the sphere of their influence find their own lives being drawn into the vortex of stress and strife. They are often gifted people who have all the tools to contribute greatly to society, but their penchant for trouble undoes all they could productively do.

There once was a star on the Chicago Bulls’ championship basketball team. Year after year he led the league in rebounding, and he played a key role on one of the greatest teams in the history of the game. His bizarre appearance and his unorthodox lifestyle, at first, made him a darling of the media, and his on-court and off-court antics propelled his name into the headlines—and spectators into the seats. But as time wore on his welcome wore out. Teams that desperately needed a player with his rebounding abilities passed up the opportunity to sign him, and eventually he could not find a place to play.

He caused too much trouble. A promising career crashed.

There are troublemakers in all walks of life—in the office, at the church, in Congress, and on professional sports teams. And Scripture has some trenchant things to say about them, particularly with regard to the Lord’s evaluation of them.

The troublemaker’s root problem is attitude—“haughty eyes” that reveal a person’s thoughts, and “a heart that plots evil,” which shows up in words. The underlying attitude shows itself in actions—“a lying tongue;” “hands that kill the innocent;” and “feet that race to do wrong” (Proverbs 6:17-19). All of this eventually and inevitably led to discord among brothers.

Where will it all end? One day the troublemaker will have to meet with his boss, his coach, or his constituents and face the music. But a far more somber fate awaits him. For the Lord “hates” what he does and detests what he stands for. At the final judgment, the troublemaker will be in deep trouble when he discovers that his overriding achievement in life was to make deep trouble for himself.

But the Lord specializes in turning troublemakers around! They just need to admit that the envy, jealousy, insecurity, anger—or whatever other deep-rooted dynamic led to their behavior—is sinful, and turn to Christ for forgiveness and strength to live in newness of life.

There’s nothing quite so refreshing as seeing a troublemaker converted into a peacemaker!

For further study: Proverbs 6:1-23

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.