“For, “All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.” 1 Peter 1:24-25
“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,” 1 Peter 2:1
It is easy to want to go forward with I Peter 2:1, but the word therefore, signifies “for that reason”, so I needed to go backwards to know what the reason is that I should put off these things listed. The verses before share it is because the flesh is temporary, but the Word of the Lord is forever that we should put off these things.
The following definitions are from Google Dictionary Oxford Language:
Malice – intention or desire to do evil
Deceit – an action that intentionally conceals or misrepresents the truth
Hypocrisy – claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform
Envy – a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck
When I read the list of words and then the definition, I paused to consider what this looks like in my life. It is easy to pick up on the big words, evil, hiding the truth (aka lying), discontent and put on my holier than though hat that I have set aside those things already. But have I really?
Malice. There have been times, even this week when I know what I should do and chose not to. That is evil, I can make all the excuses in the world, it doesn’t change what the Bible says. I am suppose to do the right thing every time. Will I sometimes miss the mark? Yes. When I consciously make the choice to miss the mark, that is sin. Intentional sin is malice.
Sin is evil. The Bible “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17
I admit, sometimes I will intentionally pick an argument or unintentionally step into one and keep it going. I like a good debate. I know creating dissension is sin. Yet, with pure malice I sometimes engage anyway.
Deceit. Every now and then I will purchase something, and intentionally not tell my husband. I am concealing my purchase, but honestly there is no reason for me to do it. The thing is, my husband is okay with me buying anything I want. It is often hard for me to find something I want, so when I do, I will buy it. He knows I will not spend money we don’t have. He will sometimes give me a hard time about how much I spend on something. Like two crosses that hang on our wall, he gives me a hard time about from time to time. Even then, he is just teasing with me. He was with me when I bought one. The other I concealed the price on for many months because I broke it bringing it home and he had to fix it. It is still a picture of deceit.
Hypocrisy. I have always thought myself to be someone who believes in social justice and advocating for those who for whatever reason can not do it for themselves. I don’t believe that I am racist, and I thought I was a person of empathy who can see things from others point of view. Last year, I opened my mouth and inserted my foot on a matter I thought others would agree with me on. I could tell my the silent reaction, those I was talking with did not know what to do with my comment. I was concerned about what my granddaughter was being exposed to, a friend later explained she didn’t have that luxury. For safety, she had to have the conversation. She opened my eyes to other’s reality. It was not intentional hypocrisy, but it was none the less hypocrisy because my response didn’t take into account what others deal with every day.
Envy. This one reared it’s ugly head recently. I have always been bless with a job that provides ample time off and most holidays. Up until the past year, my husband has not. This year I used most of my vacation before the middle of the year, as I have the ability to go in the negative starting January 1st. My husband on the other hand is accruing it and now that it is towards the end of the year he is in an “use it or lose it” situation.
Part of me celebrates that he finally can have some time to relax, pursue hobbies, and travel. I know he has earned it and that he has worked hard through the years. He was working while I would vacation with the kids. He worked most holidays. I found myself feeling a little resentful that he has holidays off and I’m working. Or resentful that he is sleeping in while I am working long hours. I really had to pray through those negative feelings of envy
I can recognize this sin in my life because the Word of the Lord is planted deep in my life. It is easy to want to dismiss it “because everyone does this.” I know God’s grace not only gives me favor; it also empowers me to do what I can not do on my own. Yes, I can repent and God does forgive me. He also wants to help me get to the point I can put aside All, not just some malice, deceit, hypocrisy and envy.
He knows that when I give into the flesh and dwell in those areas, that it is not beneficial. He wants me to take up the Word, to apply it to these areas in my life when I falter until I have put aside all sin. By His grace this is possible, by His Word I am learning how.