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1 John 3:15: Everyone Who Hates His Brother is a Murderer

1 John 3:15
[15] Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (ESV)

I have a brother.  I love my brother.  But, I can remember that as a child I would get very frustrated with him and would say, "I hate you."  This was followed by a lecture from my mother who reminded me that as a believer in Jesus Christ I do not have the option to hate my brother.  I usually responded with, "Well, I strongly dislike him." This was also unacceptable.  My mother was quite knowledgeable of the Scriptures and in particular the Apostle John's admonition.

The one who hates his brother is a murderer.  That is a strong statement. We tend to flippantly throw around the words, "I hate you," and I daresay we are not plotting someone's death. The problem is we have our own standards that are not consistent with God's standards.  According to God's perfect standard to hate someone from the heart is the same as carrying out the action of murder.  His standards are so much higher than ours.

When I look at God's Word concerning hating a brother or sister it is difficult.  I find that there are areas of hatred that I struggle with in my own heart.  I cannot allow them to stay.  I must bring them to the cross and leave them there.  I have been deeply hurt and wounded by people who said that they loved me.  It is hard for me to let go of that hurt.  I want to respond with hatred.  I must not. Listen to Jesus' words as to how we should respond to those who hurt us:

Matthew 5:43–45
[43] “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)

I know that you have been hurt.  The enemy will tempt you to hate your brother.  Go to the cross.  Pray for the one who has hurt you.  The Savior will strengthen you and help you to love.