So, put away all malice and deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.
This 1 Peter verse is like a sandwich that has different textures and flavors blended together and then sealed with two thick pieces of bread. You have your pickles, your cheese, your tomato...you fill in the blanks with your favorites. Honesty and genuineness are like that; they have to be taken together with the other important elements or they will fall flat on the flavor scale. They won't edify.
It starts with saying to put away all malice. In other words; get rid of any ill will and evil intent. The entire basis of Christianity is love, right? We all know this and yet it is the hardest thing to do. So, our truth speaking and genuineness has to be void of wanting to hurt someone. If I desire to hurt someone with truth or if I intentionally communicate it in a way that I know will be hurtful, I stamp out the chance for real intimacy, real fruit, real love. Right out of the gate, I have failed.
Deceit...there is the heart of the matter. If I speak rainbows, flowers and butterflies but the reality is mud, weeds and mosquitoes, than I have painted a pretty picture but not a real one. I know what your thinking, "Whatever is good, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute...." We are supposed to think and dwell on good things...no argument there. But, we can't begin to effect biblical, scriptural change,in ourselves first and then others, if we don't look reality straight in the eye and communicate in a genuine, heart-real way.
Hypocrisy...ouch, that one stings. Saying one thing and doing another. I think this is where I need to change the most. And not in the way you might think. I am known amongst the people who know me as honest (I won't lie to save myself money, time or trouble), trustworthy, dependable, kind, etc. I do all that I know how to live a biblically relevant and real life. But, where I really fall is in being able to communicate hard things and be able to feel okay about it. To be the real me and not be concerned about someone else's opinion. To me, that's hypocritical.
Envy...now that's a stand alone word isn't it? It doesn't need any modifiers or qualifiers. It speaks for itself. Because if I speak something that in and of itself could be a true statement but it is spoken out of the heart of envy, it is in essence, a lie from the devil. The Holy Spirit would never motivate us from a point of envy. It's not in Him.
Slander...this is a hard one. How do you define it? The dictionary says: words falsely spoken that damage another's reputation. Truth must be, well...true. And going back to what was said about malice, it must be said with the heart of reconciliation. The heart of hoping and praying that good things will come out of it.
Our hope must be to live in peace with all men as far as it depends on us but truth and genuineness can't be sacrificed on the altar of the desire for peace. They all go hand in hand. The need each other...just like we do.
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