I'm frustrated with organizations and others who spend so much time tearing down others rather than just focusing on what they can be doing to make things better.
Your family. Your town. Your church. Your school. Every organization you know can become fragmented and lose steam from an individual unleashing malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander (see 1 Peter 2:1). And it’s contagious. Once one starts behaving inappropriately others just join in creating a downward spiral that leads to destruction and death rather than life and freedom.
Malice. The thought of wishing ill on someone. A secret desire that the opposition will fail. Doesn’t seem all that bad, does it? But it’s the start. Once we allow ourselves to root for evil in the life of another, we have allowed evil to enter into our lives.
Deceit. Being fake with the intention of tricking. At its worst, it is like the lure in a trap when hunting. It offers food for the prey, and then traps them. You see this in debates a lot. We are not to be that way. We are to be truthful and frank bringing peace and joy. We are to say what we mean and mean what we say while leaving the debating tricks to those who want to win debates rather than build a better tomorrow.
Hypocrisy. The acting of a theater performer. Instead of changing to be who God wants them to be, a hypocrite is like a chameleon. They change depending on the crowd they are currently in with the hope, sometimes unrecognized, to manipulate others into giving them what they want. At their worst, they will be your friend to your face and attack you behind your back.
Envy. Similar to malice except that an envious person doesn’t want the other person to be blessed. Instead of desiring the best for those around them, an envious person demands to have the best. Envy will always try to creep in and tell you that you deserve more than others, especially those who have wronged you. You can tell when you have truly forgiven someone for a wrong they have done to you when you are rooting for them to be blessed rather than frustrated at their blessings.
Slander. The sin of the small town. Back-biting and speaking negatively about others behind their back. It is the snake that slithers in and squeezes out all unity and life.
These are common sins that destroy relationships rather than draw people together. They dismantle rather than assemble. They burn bridges rather than build them. Tomorrow can be better than today in our family, town, church, and every other group we are part of if we remove from ourselves all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.
Is it any wonder that America is in the state it is? Our political scene is inundated with one attack after another. Instead, let us offer up an alternative. Not just in the political arena – although that is welcomed – but in our daily lives. Let us long for truth and spirituality that will spur us toward living the life God has called us to live. Let us look at what we can do to improve the life of those around us rather than obsessing over attacking others. We are called to be people of worship. Self-sacrifice, like Jesus modeled and Paul taught, is one of greatest acts of worship.
The world will never be changed by those who are obsessed about tearing others down. It will only be changed by those who deny themselves, invest in others, and build something better. That’s true in our families. That’s true in our towns. That’s true in our churches. Let us build a better tomorrow. I know of a good foundation.