Last week we were taking Paul’s advice to examine ourselves and see if Jesus Christ was really among us. We started the examination with obedience, from there we went to holiness and then love. There was so much dealing with love that it had to broken up into two posts. Today we are finishing the examination on love.
Just as a genuine love for others is a proof of eternal life, hatred is a proof that there is no eternal life.
“But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” 1 John 2:11 (NKJV)
“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15 (NKJV)
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20 (NKJV)
Hatred reveals that our hearts are filled with darkness instead of the light that comes from Jesus and His salvation. The way hatred blinds us to the fact that we are walking in darkness is by convincing us that our hatred is okay with God. Let me show you some common ways that we tend to hate but be blind to the fact that this hate causes us to walk in darkness.
Racism-Racism has often been a respectable sin within the evangelical church. We’ve excused it by saying, “That’s just how they were raised.” Or “They are just from another generation where that was okay.” There’s probably many more ways we’ve justified the sin of racism within our hearts. Regardless of our justification, racism is hatred and that hatred causes us to walk in the darkness.
Politics-Very little brings out the worst in people like politics. We see this pretty much every day since we are in the midst of a presidential election. You may think that your political party has the best interests the country at heart and that your candidate is the best choice for America. But if you hate those who have a different opinion about this than you do, your hatred is causing you to walk in darkness.
Religion-It is Biblically clear that all religious are not equal. Jesus and Jesus alone gives eternal life. However does this mean that it is okay to hate Muslims? No it’s not. Do you know what it takes for a Muslim to be saved? They have to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ, just like you had to do. Religious hatred causes us to walk in darkness.
Sin-Christians often have a righteous indignation against sin. This is good and acceptable according to Scripture. Christians should have a righteous hatred of sin. However, a righteous hatred of sin does not translate into a righteous hatred of the person trapped in the sin. Probably the one sin that gets the most hatred is homosexuality. The fact that homosexuality is a sin doesn’t make gay jokes and using derogatory names for homosexuals acceptable. Regardless of our justification, hating the person trapped in the sin causes us to walk in the darkness.
Those who have hurt us-If anything I write today is going to make people angry it’ll be this point. We feel justified in our hatred of those who have hurt us or our loved ones. The fact of the matter is this hatred is NOT justified or acceptable. Jesus said we are to love our enemies, bless those who persecute us and do good for those who despitefully use us (Matthew 5:44-48). This isn’t to say these people haven’t done terrible things because they probably have. Despite this, genuine believers in Jesus Christ do not get to hate them. Regardless of what they’ve done hating them causes us to walk in darkness.
While hatred may be culturally acceptable it is not Biblically allowed for the believer. A person who hates another person made in the image of God, particularly another Christian, should question the genuineness of his or her salvation.
For further study read Luke 6:27-36 and Matthew 5:38-48. Who are believers supposed to love? Who are believers supposed to do good for? How are believers supposed to treat those who hurt them?
Read Romans 12:17-21. Are believers supposed to repay evil with evil? Are believers supposed to seek vengeance? How are believers to treat their enemies?