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No place in the heart of a Christian

It is perhaps not a word that we think of very often, but it should have our attention. Christians are specifically commanded at least three times in the New Testament to "put off...malice" (Col. 3:8). In the other two passages, we are commanded to "put away...all malice" (Eph. 4:31), "laying aside all malice" (1 Pet. 2:1). Underscore the word "all" in these verses.

The Greek word for malice involves "ill-will" and "desire to injure." One writer summarized the term as "bad-heartedness." Paul reminded Titus that such must remain in the past for children of God, when we were " in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another" (3:3).

Think about the definition. Malice is a "desire to hurt someone." The root of that desire (in Titus 3:3) is "hate." Hurting someone certainly could involve a physical injury, but it could also be an attempt to hurt someone emotionally, socially, financially and even spiritually. Brethren, we need to look inside of us. There can be no place given to malice! All of it must go!