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 that was 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 one hot day, 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. Jerome translated the entire Bible into Latin, the prevalent language of his day. He is said to have died in Bethlehem with his head resting in the manger where Jesus was born.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 7, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 12, 2002