absence of malice
"Though You test my heart, searching it in the night, though You try me with fire, You shall find no malice in me." —Psalm 17:3
In one day, Job lost everything precious to him. Satan placed his bets on Job responding to this tragedy with malice by blaspheming God to His face (Jb 1:11). "In all this Job did not sin, nor did he say anything disrespectful of God" (Jb 1:22). Rather, Job responded: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Jb 1:21)
The prophet Jonah faced a much smaller dose of adversity. In two hot days, he found and then lost a shade tree, which had provided comfort and relief to him (Jon 4:7). Based on previous reactions, Satan didn't have to bet on Jonah's response to an inconvenience; he knew Jonah would respond with anger toward God and pity toward himself (Jon 4:9).
One man reacts to major tragedy with grace and humility, giving honor to God. Another man reacts to a minor setback with petty, self-centered anger and blames God. What causes the difference? One major reason is the absence of malice (Ps 17:3). Jonah harbored malice toward the people of Nineveh, and could not let go of that bitterness. Conversely, Job made a daily practice of praying fervently and was an upright man, fearing "God and avoiding evil" (Jb 1:1, 5). When tough times came, each man responded "from his heart's abundance" (Lk 6:45). Are you ready for tough times? Who do you need to forgive?
Prayer: Father, create a clean heart in me (Ps 51:12). Help me to decide to forgive everyone who has hurt me.
Promise: "Whoever welcomes Me welcomes Him Who sent Me." —Lk 9:48
Praise: St. Vincent exhorted, "Trust in Him, I beg you, and you will have the fulfillment of what your heart desires."
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2010
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