Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31
When time is given to fast and pray for matters relating to our nation, our families and ourselves, it should also be a time of reflection and repentance for sin, specifically for the sin of malice. Whether we want to admit it or not, Christians do hold grudges; believers can wrestle with feelings of hate, and saints are capable of bitterness—all while lifting hands to worship, and praying with fervency or giving words of encouragement to another. It’s a farce. A justified response that keeps malice tucked behind self-righteous acts that ultimately undermine the love of God and fracture unity within the body of Christ.
Malice is an insidious sin that affects unsuspecting God-fearing Christians. And, in a world driven by political persuasion, societal woe, and challenges in life itself, minor infractions can lead to animus towards those we’re supposed to love. So, rather than follow Christ’s example of giving self as an offering or extending self as a sacrifice, disappointment takes precedence and bitterness begins to brew. It’s a reproach that must be acknowledged and turned away from if there is to be sincerity and truth in families, communities, and the church.
Christians are not immune to feelings, but in the same way that feelings are “caught,” we’re also told to let some of them drop! We’re told throughout the New Testament (Matthew 5:22, Romans 1:29, Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8, Titus 3:3, 1 Peter 2:1) to lay down feelings of resentment and instead forgive; to resist the works of the flesh; and, to allow the blood of Jesus to clean our conscience before bad feelings fester further and our humility is found false.
When feelings are no longer aligned with His Word, deference to the Lordship of Jesus is the charge! Thus, we appropriate the name of Jesus, and consciously turn away from ill-will. We resist the whispers of offense by confessing it quickly. And, we submit to God with contrition, demonstrating confidence in His faithfulness to forgive us and trusting Him to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Malice can hide, and people around us and closest to us may never know that we are snared by it, but there is a God who does know, and He calls us to repent, to be free from duplicity and to eat the bread of sincerity and truth. And, when we do, our worship is true and our prayers are effective.
Father, I lay aside all malice, and repent for ways that have distanced me from You, or brought division to the body of Christ, and my family. Now, I pray Lord, that You would reveal any malice in my heart so that my life is a true reflection of Your love. I pray for help to always eat the bread of sincerity and truth regardless of my feelings, in Jesus’ name.
Ministry Fellow, Christian Union Nova
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