Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
We had a pretty good idea of what the word meant but as we were reading together my wife asked me to define “malice”. I found it hard to give a specific definition and decided to look it up. I was reading 1 Peter 2 and was glad she asked and glad I took time to look it up.
malice: desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness:
The desire …whether you act on the desire or not … the desire. The Lord is telling us to purge our hearts even of the desire to harm others.
Hostile impulse or deep-seated meanness … I feel I have dealt with at least most “deep-seated meanness” in my life but there are times the “hostile impulse” is still very much alive and well. Someone says something or does something unthinking or unkind and a “desire” rises up for revenge. Of course, since I am a Christian I don’t call it revenge, I call it “justice”. I just want to see them “get what is coming to them”.
Since they deserve to have the hammer of justice fall on them and since it is God, not me, that will inflict the “justice”, is there anything wrong with me having a “desire to inflict injury, harm or suffering on another”? Technically, maybe not, but deep down I sense only the Pharisee would answer, “technically”. The Holy Spirit, through Peter, seems to be saying, “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit (even self-deception?) and hypocrisy”. Wow, that hypocrisy thing stings.
Verse two seals the deal when it says we are to be like “newborn babies”. I’ve never seen a newborn that was caught up in technicalities and dissecting the law. (They quickly learn that as toddlers and teens) but newborns are pretty straightforward, simple, with no ability to cleverly manipulate words and ideas. They just are what they are.
Lord, simplify me. I want to honest, open, no hypocrisy, no masks because I do sincerely desire to “grow up in my salvation.”
Titus 3:9 & 1 Timothy 1:3-5
But avoid foolish controversies (splitting hairs over details of the law). Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work… The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.