Spite is a desire to hurt or make a person annoyed and it is often found with its twin version; malice which means to have ill will for a person. The Pharisees exhibited a spiteful and malicious character. I know you’re probably sitting there thinking this article is not for you but flow with me, you might discover ways in which you’ve been spiteful and malicious rather than loving as Jesus wants us to be.
Though Jesus Christ was no enemy to the Pharisees, they decided to make Him their own enemy. Jesus spoke to them through parables and proverbs and sometimes, He sounded quite harsh but it cannot be overlooked that Jesus did all that in a bid to correct and bring them to repentance. However, the Pharisees let spite grow in them instead, to the extent that they were even strategizing with the Scribes (who happen to be an opposition to the Pharisees) on how to bring Him down. They had a desire to hurt Jesus, an ill will for Him because they despised correction.
WHERE DO YOU COME IN?
You do not necessarily have to take action as the Pharisees did before you can be called “spiteful” or “full of malice”; these things come from the heart. The moment you wish someone bad, you become spiteful. Right from the moment you wished your teacher would fall sick so you would have a little free time on your timetable, to the moment you wished someone who didn’t take your advice suffers for it, it’s all maliciousness.
A very popular version of spite in this side of the world where I live is even found in something as sacred as prayer! Did you know that praying that your enemies “die by fire” is a malicious will. You are directly praying ill for that person.
What does the Scripture say?
First off, we must come into terms that malice is not a fruit of the Spirit. That is, it is not one of the things that the Holy Spirit in you (as a person who is born-again) helps you groom. Love on the other hand, is a fruit of the Spirit. God wants us to love, as unconditionally as He loves us, as purely as He loves us. A pure love will not wish sickness on another person just to be at “advantage”. Unconditional love remains even when the person involved may have hurt you. Love, does not delight in evil. The Pharisees had spite and malice in place of love in their hearts so it was easy for them to cheat others and make other people feel less important. Let love replace malice. (Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Do away with evil intent for anyone whatsoever. Matthew 5:43-45 tells us to pray for our enemies; not the “die by fire” kind of prayer but a prayer stemming from love, from a desire that they would also come to know Jesus. When Jesus was being arrested, it was a hurtful moment. I mean, his disciple had just betrayed Him, His friends couldn’t even stay awake and pray with Him and He was being wrongly accused. Yet, he chose love. Peter who chose spite, immediately attacked one of the men that came to arrest Jesus and you know what Jesus did? He restored the man’s ear which had been cut off by Peter (Luke 22:48-51). That was Jesus’ last miracle recorded before His crucifixion and resurrection.
The truth is that people would hurt us and sometimes we’d wish that they’d have a taste of their own medicine but that’s not what God wants from us. God does not want us conjuring evil thoughts or plans to hurt someone just because we feel they haven’t treated us right. God doesn’t want us to be like the Pharisees who groomed ill thoughts in their hearts till they acted it out. Remember, while we were still out there in the world swimming in sin, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). At times, we made a mess of God’s grace but He never had ill intents for us. He always desired that we would come to learn of how much He loves us and the new life we have in Him (John 3:16).
Remember how Jesus said that it is not until a person is actually involved in adultery or fornication that he has committed it, the very thought of it is equal to committing the sin. The same thing applies to spite and malice. The moment you begin to desire wrong and evil things for a person, it is as good as you actually carrying them out. (Matthew 5:27-28)
How to deal with spite.
Pray. As we’ve learnt today that even with the “smallest” things, we can exhibit spite, it might prove quite hard to do away with it but nothing is impossible with our God. Asking that God helps you through the Holy Spirit (whom you have received by belief in Jesus as Savior) to replace spite with love is a very efficient way of overcoming it. Next, let love find expression in you. The moment you do everything from a standpoint of love, you become more like your heavenly Father. Replace ill intents with righteous prayers like the one Jesus prayed for us all while on the cross…He asked that God forgive us…He could have asked God to destroy us but He chose love. (1 John 4:7-11; Luke 23:34)
Brethren, do not be like the Pharisees who were malicious people, be like Jesus who returns spite and hate with love.