Put Away Malice

Ephesians 4:31 – “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”

Christians often allow bitterness against others to creep into their hearts. When this happens, they inevitably judge unfairly the one who has offended them. Overlooking that person’s virtues, they see only his or her faults and hold a perpetual grudge. This displeases the Lord, who warns us to lay aside all wrath and malice (1 Peter 2:1), for such attitudes violate His law of love (Matthew 7:12).

Henry Van Wesep tells of a woman whose rather drab life was brightened by an unknown “secret pal” who remembered her birthdays and anniversaries, and in other ways filled the days with sunshine. Offsetting this pleasure, however, was a growing animosity toward a former close friend. As time passed she became more antagonistic and sour. Finally the person died whom she had constantly criticized. In spite of the longstanding bitterness, she thought common decency required that she make a neighborly call and help the grieving husband straighten up the house. In the process of aiding him, she came upon an unmailed letter addressed to her. Opening the letter, she discovered that the secret pal who had brought such encouragement to her life across the years was really the one she had maligned and misjudged!

Looking back, she sadly regrets that she harbored resentment toward the very person who had actually had been her best friend, but now it was too late to seek her forgiveness.

Christ instructs us to love our enemies and not to judge them. Today by God’s grace determine to make peace with those who may have brought bitterness into your life, heeding the admonition to put away all malice.