“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.”
We come to spiritual virus number one and the first category of sin – “malice.”
“Malice” is an evil disposition, a malignant spirit, a desire to injure another. This person desires to injure, to hurt. He gets a certain pleasure from the misfortune of others. In the cartoon of the Roadrunner, the coyote takes a beating. The point is that we derive a certain amount of pleasure at the coyote’s misfortune. This is a feeling of ill-will toward someone else.
“Malice” stands for whatever is evil in character. This is in distinction from another Greek word, which means evil in influence and effect, malignant. The word in our verse is a wider term that includes the meaning of the other word.
This word stands for anger resting in the bosom of a resentful person. It is overgrown anger settled in the soul. A malice person retains anger till it inflames him to design mischief against someone else and do them harm. Malice delights in any hurt that befalls someone we do not like. Malice further propels our relationships into deeper trouble.
Malice is the opposite of that which is fair, advisable, kind, gracious, or good in character. It is that which is destructive, injurious. Malice is the outworking of the principle of evil, mostly in the ethical sphere. The main idea is that malice destroys fellowship.
In Acts 8, Simon saw the apostles giving the gift of the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands. He offered Peter money so that he would possess this gift. Peter rebuked him in Acts 8:22, “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.” Simon loved fame. He wanted to be a celebrity in the kingdom. He thought he could buy this celebrityship. The Bible describes this attitude as malice.
Eph 4:31, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”
Col 3:8, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”
Tit 3:3, “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.”
Malice is ill-will. Malice and maliciousness are the same things. It is the desire to harm someone else, to someone you do not care about. You might not harm them yourself, but you rejoice when someone else hurts them. This is a malicious spirit.
James 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” God calls upon us to lay aside malice in any form.
Malice is the desire to hurt someone you do not like.
Malice is a sin of the character that hurts and injures other people. This sin is full of malignity, which is the opposite of excellence.
Do you recognize ill-will in your soul? Do you wish to do someone else harm? Do you have a malicious spirit? Do you rejoice when someone you do not like has a failure? Or, do you desire excellence in your soul?
We may not like how someone fixes their hair, wear their clothes, or gesture with their hands, but we need to be sure that we do not allow malice in our hearts.