The Warpaint of Malice
Beware when you are met by a fellow human wearing the warpaint of malice!
What Is Malice? A desire to harm others or to see others suffer
Col 3:8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
Psalm 140:3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips.
Acts 8:23 For I see that thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.
Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Prov 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
When we hurt, it is natural to want to be defensive and maybe even to lash out. I think that one of the basic needs we all have is to feel respected, and to feel that we are fairly dealt with. We may not have to be the center or attention or the winner of everyone’s admiration, but we don’t want to be the rejected, mistreated victim of another’s bad day.
And yet….IT WILL HAPPEN! We live in a fallen world full of imperfect people. Sometimes those people hurt our feelings or treat us in an unpleasant way and they do not intend any harm. Sometimes people are just mean and they do intend to be cruel. Intent, however, does not change God’s perspective ….our response is very important and as the verses above reflect, God has His own expectations.
God does not want you to harbor anger, bitterness, envy or malice against others. GOD DOES NOT WANT YOU TO PLOT REVENGE!
Leviticus 19:18 Do not try to get even. Do not hold anything against one of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord.
So, what is a Christian to do? GIVE IT TO GOD!
Hebrews 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
God says to PUT AWAY those wrong responses to offenses and not harbor them.
As soon as that thought of anger, or bitterness, and especially of retaliation surfaces, drown it in the sea of forgetting. You don’t have to forget what happened, but you have to put away the negative reactions that are triggered. Move on in your thoughts to something positive. If you can’t think of anything, then just praise God.
I know that is easier said than done. If you struggle with letting go, and letting God deal with that person or circumstance, then pray for God to help you and to change the condition of your heart. Ask God to show you how He wants you to handle the offense, deal with the person or circumstance in a way that honors Him. Ask God to show you what He is trying to teach you or what character traits He is trying to build into you through your trials.
And remember, as soon as you focus on your revenge, or ill will toward that person, YOU ARE NOT TRUSTING GOD.
I challenge you to forge a new habit….
When you start to spread gossip, STOP…and relinquish that ill intention to God.
When you wish for , or you are happy to hear that something bad happened to that person, STOP…and relinquish that ill desire to God.
When you have that urge to lash out toward that person, STOP….and relinquish that retaliation to God.
Instead….Intentionally, try to think about that person as broken and in need of God. The more they hurt you, and especially if it is intentional, then the more they obviously need God at work in their heart. With that perspective, it becomes easier to pray for them and to have the right intentions toward them.
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Even though that other person may approach you covered in the war paint of malice, meet them clothed in the righteousness of God!
Prayer For You: May you carefully self-examine your own motives and intentions when dealing with people who wish you harm or cause you harm. May you be able to look beyond the behavior and see the incredible need that they and all of us have…for God to be at work in our hearts and minds.
Malice: The Road to Destruction http://www.onewayonly.net/malice.html