“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings.” I Peter 2:1
Salvation is the greatest gift we can ever receive. The moment one trusts Christ as his Savior, his eternal destination is sealed. However, something else begins the moment he turns to Jesus in repentance and faith. A process of sanctification is initiated which will continue until he is taken to Heaven. As Christians, part of that process is removing from our lives things which are not pleasing to the Lord, and bringing into our lives the kinds of things that He expects.
Examples of the kinds of things which we need to part with are found in this Scripture: “malice . . . guile . . . hypocrisies . . . envies, and all evil speakings.” Things like anger, deception, hypocrisy, jealousy, and evil criticism need to be purged from our lives. Evil speakings would include backbiting, slander, gossip, falsely accusing, murmuring, etc. Most of us are aware of how powerful our words can be. The tongue, according to the Bible, is a great tool for blessing, but also for cursing.
Words can edify or build up others, and words can tear them down. Whoever invented the childhood saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me” did not know what he was talking about. Words can hurt deeply and sometimes bring long-term damage. God wants His children to take control of their words and to be “laying aside all evil speakings.” This is often easier said than done. The Bible, as well as personal experience, teaches us that taming the tongue can be quite difficult.
How can we conquer the tendency to be critical? It would be wise for us to examine our motives in using the words we use. Is it because we are interested in helping someone or harming them? What about the person we are speaking to? Is this person a part of the solution to the problem? Will these words potentially cause further damage to others? How are the words spoken? Are they kind and considerate or harsh and cruel? Finally, are they true? Are we certain they are factual, or is there a possibility the information is not correct? If we plan to lay aside critical and harsh words, we are going to have to get serious about bringing our conversations under control. God wants to help us in our desire to obey Him. If we are sincere and pray for His help, He will enable us to put away evil speaking.