Hate and Murder
“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”1 John 3:15
In this passage, John is teaching his readers that he who does not love his brother is a murderer or a “man-killer.” He is echoing what Jesus taught in the Sermon of the Mount: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:21-22).
Murder is an end result of animosity. A person may conceal his animosity from men but God alone is able to see the heart and judge accordingly. All what earthly courts can do is to judge acts that result from enmity.
There are other ways of killing a man than by physical violence that can actually end his life. Defamation can so sadden a person and stop him from fully developing his God given capabilities, and thus destroy a part of the life he could have experienced. The very awareness of being disliked is enough to hurt the spirit and the thwart the enthusiasm of some and may even cause them to drop their faith in God, and lose eternal life.
Jesus said that murder originated with the devil: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him” (John 8:44). Paul stated that those who were guilty of murder would not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21).
This does not mean that there is no forgiveness for murder and hate. It only means that a person can’t have eternal life while insisting on harboring such hate. The believer can be both forgiven and washed from this sin if he seeks conversion. For the Lord promised, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The Lord requires moral perfection of His children (Matthew 5:48) and has provided all the grace necessary for the believer to overcome (Romans 8:1–4).
In His service,