I have been hanging out in I Peter…just taking my time.
This morning I began chapter two and made it just one verse.
It was not a verse that was easy to focus on…in fact, I am a bit embarrassed to say that usually I would read quickly over it and get to something else that was sweeter…maybe nicer…
If I wasn’t choosing to discipline myself to slow down…I would have missed this verse and assumed that it didn’t relate to me. Had I not slowed down, I wouldn’t have remembered that in the previous chapter it talked about God telling me to be holy like He is holy. God didn’t say those words as a suggestion…He said it because it is to be my aim…a pursuit worth taking time to see where I fall short…and addressing places that catch me unaware.
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”
I am going to tell you a secret…one that was whispered to me today…actually much later in the day…
Just because you don’t say something out loud doesn’t me that it doesn’t qualify as malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy or slander.
I wonder if this is why Peter uses the word “all” three times…perhaps he is informing us that there isn’t just one way that each needs to be eradicated. Don’t you like how I have included you with me…how I hate to be alone…
When I roll my eyes when someone’s name is mentioned and sigh…could that be slanderous? I am sure that gives an impression of my view towards that person to those who see my display.
Do I smile and say nice things about someone yet if my mind could be seen like a cartoon word cloud…would the words and the thoughts match? If not, this is hypocrisy.
Do I leave out details…is that deceitful?
Do I look longingly at my neighbor’s new lawn and feel discontent by my dandelion field? Yes, you could say that I am envious. (Okay, you must know that one goes way back since these days, everyone’s lawn looks pretty soggy right now.)
Peter says to put it away!
The Amplified version says to be done with it!
Does it make sense why I would prefer to skip over these types of verses?
I think God wants me to spend time in verses just like this one…not for the purpose of feeling lost in shame but for the simple reason, if I don’t know…I can’t and won’t change.
Change is challenging…and it takes time. I am sure that I will catch myself falling into old ways often in the days to come. I will still ask God to guard my mind and my heart as well as my tongue so that I can be aware of these sneaky attitudes and emotions.
Thank you, Lord that You don’t only want some of me…you want all of me to walk in holiness. Thank you for showing me practices and attitudes that do not bring you joy and help me to put them away and be done with them. Amen.