Putting Away Malice

Joseph didn’t hold a grudge. While he well remembered what his older brothers had done to him, he instead sought their health and welfare. We know he didn’t forget because of how he tested them with regards to Benjamin. Satisfied that they had changed enough, he made it possible for his old family to escape the famine. If you aren’t familiar with what happened or need a refresher, you can find it starting in Genesis 37. 

So put away all malice and all 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— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.  – 1 Peter 2:1-3, ESV

Part of dealing with sin is dealing with when people have treated us poorly. The first reaction by most is to want to get back at whoever hurt us. We want them to “get theirs,” meaning their punishment for treating us wrongly. However, wishing harm or ill on another is malice. Peter tells us this isn’t God’s way. We are to put away malice along with deceit and hypocrisy. After all, how can we talk about following a God who forgives our worst sins if we can’t forgive the slightest ones?

Joseph didn’t hold malice towards his brothers. Even after Jacob died, they were worried that Joseph would seek his revenge. He reassured them that while they intended evil, he intended them no harm because he knew God used the situation for good. Joseph wanted each of them and their families to grow and prosper. Joseph had tasted that the Lord is good and was seeking the “pure spiritual milk” that comes from a healthy relationship with God. 

If we want a better relationship with God, we must seek better relationships with those we know and come across. This means forgiving and seeking their welfare. It means putting away sinful desires for revenge. There is something better. If you’ve tasted that the Lord is good, you’ve experienced it. Seek after that. Forgive and instead move closer to God. Then you’ll taste the Lord is good even more. 

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