“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:14-15
Everyone has experienced the emotion of hatred. It usually comes as a response to perceived or real wrongs done to us – or to someone or something we care about.
It is a pleasantly, unpleasant emotion. It is pleasant in that it satisfies our desire for vengeance. We feel justified in allowing ourselves to rest in its comforting schemes of revenge and acts of retribution.
It is unpleasant in that, once it is in place, it doesn’t want to leave. It seeks to establish itself firmly in our thought life; springing up whenever something triggers its agenda. Beyond that, it seeks to weave its own creed into our psyche by changing our beliefs about life and people and God and what we can expect from any or all of those realities.
Hate we feel as an emotion. But, it is much more than that.
Hatred is fueled by a belief. What belief fuels hatred?
Something like this:
“You better protect yourself. People cannot be trusted and if people cannot be trusted, then God, who is ultimately in control of everything cannot be trusted. If you are going to get through this life relatively happy and unscathed, you better get about the business of closing yourself off to things that can hurt you.”
I don’t have to ask who has heard this message. Everyone who has experienced hurt and loss has.
So, you can see from this that hatred does not stand on its own either: it is fueled by something as well.
What is it fueled by?
Hurt and pain is the foundaton of hatred. It is what is fueling the emotion we recognize as hatred.
Most Christians would never admit they hate someone because they know that it is scripturally wrong. So, their answer to the problem is to lie; to deny that what is real even exists. We all know that denial has never solved one problem in the history of mankind.
The scripture we read in 1 John adds other aspects to this discussion. It tells us two things:
First, it gives an assurance we have passed from death to life if we love. If we do not love, we are abiding in death.
Secondly, it tells us that whoever is in hatred is a murderer.
Wait a minute! Wait a minute!
I may have hate in my heart for someone but I’ve never raised my hand against them to take their life!
Well, no, not literally, but remember: God is interested in the heart more than action. You can work only on actions and not change a man. But, if you successfully change the heart, then you have a man whose actions and attitudes are in line with the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 5:27: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Verse 43: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. (Gal. 5:1)
Is a man eaten up with lust a free man? Is a woman obsessed with hate a free woman?
Hatred is the spirit of murder.
Murder – Calculated or imagined injury with the goal being the death of “something”.
Let me explain this.
Hatred has a desire: to see the object of its wrath experience the death of “something” that will bring about the supposed justice decreed by the one who is judging.
You may never be one who would actually kill someone physically but you could see yourself justified in imagining a scenario in which that happened. Or, you could see yourself justified in telling something that might lead to the death of some benefit in their life. Or, you could see yourself justified in doing nothing when you could stop a hurtful situation in their life.
Any of these sound familiar?
Hatred is a spirit. It has taken residence in your life, not because of what someone did, but because of a wound that you have not allowed God to heal! The pain is its base, not the action of the individual who hurt you!
Unforgiveness is a fleshly tool that we use to protect ourselves from further hurt and pain.
But, protecting ourselves comes with a price:
Matthew 16:25: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
We were never given the authority or the power to “save” or protect our lives. Once we begin to take this upon ourselves, we actually begin the process of losing what we are seeking to save!
Our only safety mechanism is “shutting out” and “fixing”. We don’t do well at either of those. How do we know who is safe and who is not? When we begin the process of “shutting out”, we lose access to peace and blessing! When we try to “fix the past” we end up alienating people from us.
If we give up or lose these things for His sake; His glory – we find ourselves truly free!
Steps back to love:
- Turn your focus from others to Jesus.
- Turn your focus back to His glory.
- Admit to him your spirit of hatred.
- Allow Him to heal your hurt and pain.
- Realize He will adequately handle all wrongs.
- Give up on the folly of protecting yourself.
- Receive His freedom and peace.
I’m praying for you!!! Be free by the One who has died to set you free!!