Malice, the desire to inflict injury or suffering on another, is addressed in both the Old and New Testaments. And no matter how you look at it, malice leads to the destruction of the one who has it.
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Malice comes from inside, is found in the heart, and makes one unclean (
Psalm 28:3; Ezekiel 25:6; Mark 7:20-23). And worse, it is indicative of a depraved or corrupt mind ( Romans 1:29-32; 1 Timothy 6:4).
The scriptures teach that malice is the cause of murder or murderous thoughts. Malice wishes one dead and forgotten (
Psalm 41:5). In fact, according to scripture, malice is murder and is deserving of death (Numbers 35:20-21; Romans 1:29-32). Other scriptures show that malice or lack of it when someone is killed determines whether or not death is deserved ( Deuteronomy 4:42; Deuteronomy 19:4-6; Joshua 20:5).
The Bible also tells us about malice as it pertains to speech. Malice is wickedness on lips (
Job 6:30), and those who gossip maliciously love to be first ( 3 John 9-10). A liar listens to a malicious tongue ( Proverbs 17:4). A malicious talker is the opposite of one worthy of respect who is temperate and trustworthy ( 1 Timothy 3:11). In the Old Testament, malicious witness is associated with spreading false reports and helping the wicked ( Exodus 23:1), and such witnesses were to be purged and shown no pity ( Deuteronomy 19:16-21). Needless to say, those who speak maliciously should be ashamed of their slander (1 Peter 3:16 ).
In addition, there is quite a "laundry list" of the horrible things associated with malice in the scriptures, including wickedness, evil, abuse, adultery, anger, arrogance, bitterness, boastfulness, brawling, callous hearts, constant friction, deceit, disobedience, envy, evil conceits, evil suspicions and thoughts, faithlessness, filthy language, folly, God-haters, gossip, greed, heartlessness, hypocrisy, iniquity, insolence, lewdness, murder, oppression, pride, prowling, rage, robbed of truth, ruthlessness, scoffing, senselessness, sexual immorality, slander, strife, theft, and violence (
Psalm 28:3; Psalm 55:10; Psalm 73:3-8; Ezekiel 36:3; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 1:29-32; Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; 1 Timothy 6:4; 1 Peter 2:1).
As the opposite of sincerity and truth (
1 Corinthians 5:8), malice is quite ugly. Those who wink maliciously cause grief ( Proverbs 10:10), and malicious neighbors are considered to be painful briers and sharp thorns ( Ezekiel 28:24). Because living in malice means being hated and hating one another ( Titus 3:3), it is not surprising that those who maliciously mock are ungodly ( Psalm 35:16).
Malice is so offensive to God, the scriptures teach that God is against the malicious and will take vengeance against them and destroy them (
Ezekiel 25:6, 15; Ezekiel 36:5-7)--malice is, indeed, the road to destruction. So what is a malicious person to do? He can try to hide the fact that he is malicious, but the scriptures assure us that even though malice can be concealed with deceit, it will be revealed ( Proverbs 26:24-26). Therefore, the only solution is simple, as found in the Bible--we must rid ourselves of malice (Isaiah 58:9-11; Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; 1 Peter 2:1). Besides, with all of those bad characteristics, who would want to hang onto it, anyway?
Copyright © 1999 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.