“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (I Peter 2:1-3).
We now resume our study of I Peter following our month long profile of Martin Luther and the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Chapter Two of I Peter begins with a conclusion directing the reader throughout the rest of the epistle. Peter identifies “five” sins involving our speech and attitudes which we must eliminate.
The word “so” is another way of saying “therefore.” As a consequence of who we are in Christ and our desire to be holy as He is holy (I Peter 1:16), God directs believers to put away or cease what we are accustomed to doing. What follows is not a pretty list, but Peter is less concerned with hurting people’s feelings as he is with truth. Please notice the adjective “all” which precedes all five nouns. This is to be a total renunciation of ungodliness.
The apostle begins by saying “put away all malice.” With your total being, cease being malicious. Malice is from the Greek word κακία (kakia). It refers to hateful feelings and a strong dislike we may have towards someone. Synonyms include the words baseness and depravity, or even wicked ill-will.
How many times can you remember having a strong dislike for someone because of what they did to you, or to someone you love? Those feelings often do not just go away. Untended, they can grow into a bitterness and wrath which can result in even worse sinful behavior: not by the original perpetrator mind you, but rather by you.
Toward whom have you had malicious feelings? A co-worker? A relative? Perhaps, even your spouse or a dear friend? Repent of this attitude immediately and ask God to give you the desire to not only pray for this person, but to self-sacrificially love this individual.
How do you know if you have repented of malice? Try this test. When you think of the person(s) in question or when their name is mentioned, how do you feel? What emotions come to the surface? Are the feelings you’re feeling include anger and bitterness? Or, are you thinking fondly about this person? This is a good way of knowing if you still have malice toward them.
Have a blessed day, beloved. Soli deo Gloria!