Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 29:27
"An unjust man is abominable to the righteous, and he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked"
This is the Hebrew word awel which means injustice or unrighteousness. The idea is to deviate from the righteous standard or do what is different or opposite to what is right. The basic idea is selfishness that is destructive of others. If the basic idea of living is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself, then righteousness is to meet the needs of those around you and glorify God as a primary motivation and goal. It is this goal and motivation that is corrupted in the unrighteous person. They are out for themselves and they do not care who they have to step on to achieve it. They are looking for ways to advance their selfish goals, and they do not have any moral boundaries that they won't cross. While each person should seek to maximize their potential for the Lord, for themselves, and for others, one cannot and should not do this by destroying others or by harming others.
The troubling thing is that the unjust person actually gets ahead faster than the person who follows ethical rules. But this "me first" and "my advancement at all costs" person eventually gets isolated and punished for their myopic focus on themselves.
This is the Hebrew word toeba which means abominable. It has an emotional element in that it is often translated as detestable, loathsome, abhorrent. But the core of the word marks actions that are beyond the normal sinfulness. When selfishness willingly and greedily harms another to achieve its ends, it is declared abominable by the Lord and by righteous people.
Unfortunately in our day we are not condemning these kind of actions as abominable and evil. We are trying to understand why a person would act that way. As a culture we seem to be trying to catalogue all the ways that selfishness can twist and distort a person. Because it comes from within the person, our culture is unwilling to condemn this level of selfishness. We do not carry a clear understanding of the nature of man. It has been completely corrupted by a foreign substance that is now in every person – the sin nature. This sin nature is that corruption that was added or released into every person following Adam and Eve's sin. They changed the makeup of humanity for everyone that follows them. It is the work of Christ that pays the penalty of that corruption and injects a new contagion called Christ's righteousness into our humanity. Christ didn't just pay the penalty of our sin, He also provides us with the divine nature so that we would not be consumed by selfishness.
and he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked
Solomon goes on to say that those who are seeking to live as God wants by boundarizing their selfishness with benefit to others and glory to God are abominable to the wicked. This emotional and deep loathing of the righteous comes from how the righteous stop them from pursuing their selfishness. We see this in our day right now. Those who desire to kill their own unborn children so that they are not inconvenienced by them are deeply offended and angry that righteous people would demand that those children not be killed. Sexual predators demand the right to live out their impulses without shame, without controls, and with tolerance, acceptance, and rights. There are greedy business owners who want to increase their own bottom line by cutting corners on their products, cheating on their taxes, price fixing, price gouging when supply is low, and lowering wages below living standards while they receive tax breaks, accolades, honor, and prestige in the community. They cry foul when their practices are exposed.
Solomon is right – those who want to use others for their own ends find righteousness and moral boundaries absolutely abominable. Be very careful that you do not begin to justify your own selfish desires by pushing past ethical boundaries.