Our relationship with God matters, consequently, when sin enters our hearts and takes root, inevitably coming out our mouths, we grieve. “I wish I hadn’t said that.” When the Holy Spirit lives in your heart He’ll gently caution you to be careful, however, you can ignore Him. That’s what happens when you allow bitterness, anger, rage, and clamor to remain in your heart; you’re ignoring the Spirit sent to help you.
The last two behaviors Paul lists in Eph. 4:31 are slander and malice and both deal with our words against people. You’re hurt or angry and someone must pay. Rather than allow God to bring justice, you decide to create your own justice; you smear them by attacking their character. They deserve it, right? Maybe, but it’s not your place to administer justice: it’s God’s. You can’t sing songs of praise to God and blaspheme someone with the same mouth; it just doesn’t work that way.
Sometimes (the tongue) praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
James 3:9-10 NLT
Jesus experienced slander (the Greek word is blasphemia) but He chose to honor His Father, not with a smear-campaign or retaliation but by remaining silent in the face of his enemies. He cautions us as well.
For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you. Matthew 12:34b-37 NLT
What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45b NLT
Malice is a combination of everything we’ve discussed yet with one last attribute: a desire for harm or suffering. It’s vicious, spiteful, and your words expose your heart. Jesus and Paul both appeal to you; reject those behaviors for they’ll kill your soul.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Ephesians 4:31 NLT
Here’s a nugget, the Greek word for ‘get rid of’ means to seize control or remove by force. Isn’t that true? We forcefully decide against words of slander or malice and seize control of our tongue. Interestingly, that word can also mean raising a ship’s anchor for departure. Spiritual anchors like bitterness, rage, etc. weigh you down and cause all sorts of emotional and physical ailments. Take a lesson from the Navy whose fight song is Anchors Aweigh, meaning, nothing weighs them down; they fight to win.
Does your relationship with God matter? Then raise your anchor, it’s departure time: fight to win.