It's About Hate

1 John 2:3-11: "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you:
because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth,
because that darkness hath blinded his eyes
."

1 John 3:15: "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer:
and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him
. "

A very sophisticated, young woman was traveling on an airplane.
She was highly cultured, smartly dressed, but she seemed to be carrying some scars on the inside.
Beautiful on the outside, and hurting on the inside.

The young lady was seated next to a minister, but she was not aware that he was a minister.
For almost fifteen minutes, she told the pastor about her hurts, and then her voice trailed off;
and there was a moment of silence.

Then she said: "If only someone would invent or discover a pill that people could take
every night and every morning that would take out all the nasty temper, the venom of envy
and green-eyed jealousy, the harsh unkindness, the stinking selfishness and resentment,
then love could be real and beautiful and life would be worth living
."

Then she added, almost viciously as she turned toward the minister,
"Why hasn't someone done that before now.
They have discovered medicine that kills the germs of disease.
Why hasn't somebody discovered something that will make real love possible
?"

The answer is that someone has!
The apostle Paul gives the prescription in Galatians 5:22-23:
"Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self control."

In these verses from our text in 1 John, we see personal relationships in terms of black and white.
There are no halfway stages.
And John is speaking of our attitude toward our fellowman – right where we live.
Our neighbors – the person with whom we work – people we live with – people we interact with regularly.

John is talking to the man who preaches love for the heathen, but makes no effort to love those around him.
He is talking about the person who talks about love for other nations and other individuals,
but cannot live in peace with those around him.

So here is the big question.
How do we regard our fellowman?

Dr. William Barclay answers that question in several ways.
He says that there are several responses that people make to others.

One response is to regard a person as negligible.
That is, a person can be so self-centered that in his world there is no room for anybody else.
In this response a person has drawn the curtain – he has closed the door and locked the window.
Life is built solely and completely around him.

Another response is to regard the other person as a nuisance.
Any giving or sharing that we do or are called upon to make for those less fortunate gives us pain.
This response is just to look away.

Another response is to regard a person with contempt which is a step further in the wrong direction.
This causes us to see someone as beneath us – not on our level, when compared with our dignity
and our prestige.
We can regard this person as an outright enemy.

The best response is that of love.
This is where we see that the needs of others are our needs – their interests are our interests.
And we would love to have fellowship with such a person, no matter who he or she is and no matter what
the circumstances are under which he or she lives.

Love is the most important response.
So as you see, we can travel the scale from love to considering a person as our enemy.

The musical, "Bandwagon", serves as a confession of modern man's predicament,
and the reason for his frustration.
One telling statement that is made in it illustrates my point.
One person says, "Here we are, the only animals given speech, and here we are, snarling at each other?"

John puts his finger on one of the greatest needs of Christian people in the world today.

Murder -- Homicide

1 John 3:15 plainly states: "Whosoever hateth is brother is a murderer…"
Wow!
That is frightening.
"Whosoever hateth is a murderer."

Now, we know something of the growth of personal hostility and how it can snowball.
A slight wrong is done, perhaps entirely, unintentional, but it is done, and then it begins to color our judgment
and every response that we make.

We are prone to shun, to ignore, to refuse to speak, to gossip about, to imagine that people hate us,
and we, in turn, hate them more, and we impute evil motives to the things they do.

One can almost understand this in the life of the man on the street, but not to the person
who professes to be a Christian – the child of God.
But when God's people allow hate to originate and to fester in our lives – it is a crying shame!
In fact, it is more than that – it is a tragic sin – it is evil!

I have known some church people who would not even speak to other church people in their own church.
Listen to what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not kill; and whosoever shall kill
shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and remember that thy brother hath ought against thee;
leave that thy gift…"

God is saying, "Don't try to worship Me if you have something in your heart that separates you from anyone,
don't try to worship Me until you have first, gone and tried to become reconciled to that person
."

Or, again, Jesus said you have heard: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,
and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you
."

We have a way of nursing grudges and of harboring bad feelings against others.
Hate has a way of affecting our brother against whom it is directed, but especially it affects us.
It might eventually even murder another person, but think of what it does to us when we hate.

There are tragic headlines in our papers and on television day after day with the results, the fruits of hate.
This is where husband-and-wife hate each other so intensely or of a parent and child,
or of neighbor and neighbor, or employee and employers – whatever the case may be
– hate each other so intensely that it breaks the balance, and then murder and suicide can result.

For instance, think of the physical effects of harboring hatred and enmity and all such related feelings.
Sometime back on the Discovery Channel there was a program that showed some natives of Africa.
Those natives cut their body to cause scars with different designs on their bodies.
Other natives had all sorts of metal and bone hanging from their ears, their nose, and their lips.
All these things disfigured and hurt them.

And yet we, at the same time, refuse to forgive and instead carry our burdens in our hearts and in our souls
failing to realize that they really hurt us and they really scar us.

In the Book of Esther, Haman is a perfect illustration of this in the Bible.
Haman was the Prime Minister of Persia, under the wicked king, Ahaziah.
Everybody feared Haman.

Everywhere he went people got down on the ground and groveled before him, except one person.
That one person was old Mordechai, the stiff-necked, proud leader of the Jews.

Mordechai refused to do this, and it was more than Haman could take, so he built a gallows
with the intention of hanging Mordechai on it, and then destroy the entire Jewish race,
which was held captive in the land.
Well, if you remember the story – in the end – it was Haman himself who hung on his gallows.

Two neighbors had a falling out, and one of them said, "I'll get even with him."
So he build a fence 20 feet high between them.
Not only did it shut out his neighbor's face, but it also shut out the sun from his own life.

Booker T. Washington made a statement that is quoted often.
He said: "I will not permit any man to so narrow and degrade my soul as to make me hate him."

Jesus tells us: "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thy art with him in the way."
Why?
Because Jesus knew that when resentment festers, it becomes poison.
Inwardly, we deteriorate.

But there is another word that we will close with.
That word is "forgiveness."

Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you
."

No duty is so frequently mentioned in the Word of God upon the children of God
as is the necessity of forgiveness.
Our Lord Jesus said: "If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; if he repents, forgive him.
And if he trespasses against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again
to thee saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him
."

When General Oglethorpe was governor of Georgia, during the days of John Wesley.
And in the midst of conversation with Wesley, General Oglethorpe said: "I never forgive."

Whereupon John Wesley said to him, "Well, in that case, I hope you never sin!"

It is just that simple.
In order for God to forgive us, we must have the right attitude toward others.

Now that is the necessity.
But look and see the peace, the happiness, the joy, and the real peace of mind that comes to a person
who has a forgiving spirit.

We need to forgive as God forgives us.
God says to us in Isaiah 43:25: "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

God may be speaking to some here right now.
Let us be forgiving and loving.
And let us push hatred and anger and resentment out of our hearts – they will poison us!

This sermon was adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White