“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 1 Peter 1:23-2:1
Living through a pandemic is a visceral reminder that life is short and precious. And yet, we humans tend to spend time pursuing things that really don’t matter in the end.
Why do we waste time and energy being angry, resentful, and jealous? In the last five months, our family has mourned the loss of two people (not to Covid-19). A wife lost her husband and a mother lost her child. Both women were filled with regret about unresolved problems in these relationships.
Peter reminds us that in the same way a flower drops its petals, all humans eventually wither and fade. The good news is that the word of the Lord remains forever!
In 1 Peter 1:13-23, he issues a call to action. We are to be obedient to the word of God, not conformed to ignorance, holy, and sincere in brotherly and sisterly love.
He orders us to rid ourselves of five specific sins – malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.
According to the Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon, the definitions of these words (in parenthesis) are as follows:
Malice (kakia) – a feeling of hostility and strong dislike, with a possible implication of desiring to do harm – ‘hateful feeling.’
Deceit (dolos) – to deceive by using trickery and falsehood – ‘to deceive, to trick into, treachery.’
Hyprocrisy (hypocrisis) – to give an impression of having certain purposes or motivations, while in reality having quite different ones – ‘to pretend, to act hypocritically, pretense, hyprocrisy.’
Envy (phthonos) – a state of ill will toward someone because of some real or presumed advantage experienced by such a person – ‘envy, jealousy.’ Expressions for ‘envy’ or ‘jealousy’ are often idiomatic, for example, ‘the heart burns’ or ‘the stomach is hot.’
Slander (katalalia) – to speak against, often involving speaking evil of – ‘to speak evil of, to slander, slander.’
I don’t know about you, but honestly evaluating myself and weeding this junk out of my life could keep me busy for awhile.
As we go about our week, let’s make every effort to obey the truth of God’s word and cleanse ourselves of these sins. Let’s work to love one another and focus on what matters to Jesus.
By doing so, we’ll make the world a more loving place and bring glory to the One who gives life.