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.
Verse three shows that those who reject God have problems with personal relationships.
living in malice and envy,
Bondage to lusts and pleasures demands that people who practice them live in “malice and envy.”
“Malice” is ill will toward others. It carries a sense of perversity that wishes harm on others.
“Envy” deems self less fortunate than others. An envious person is dissatisfied with what he has. He thinks others have more things or power than he has. Worse, this word connotes the wish to deprive someone else of what they have. The envious person not only wishes he has what others have but also has the sinister desire to see harm come on them.
hateful and hating one another.
Hate is the result of enslavement to lusts and pleasures and then living in malice and envy. Mental attitude sins always produce conflict. Hatred develops into a vicious cycle of retaliation: “If you hate me, I will hate you.” On it goes without resolve. Someone needs to break out of the cycle. People are enslaved to the cycle and cannot get out of this without regeneration.
The three sins of this verse destroy others in order to preserve self. This kind of life attracts conflict and alienation.
Focus on selfish concerns puts us in conflict with others.
Those who think that they are losing social status in a conflict will turn to malice and envy to save themselves. Once they lose rank in the herd, they turn on others. Their station is a more important value than how they treat others. They will not hesitate to destroy another to preserve themselves.
Reflection on our unsaved past gives us empathy for the lost. We remember the awful relationships we had before becoming Christians.