Posted: February 15, 2011 in Words

Since Monday was Valentine’s Day, Sunday morning I preached a sermon about love out of 1 John. In studying the book last week, there was one thing in particular, that John repeats several times, that really caught my attention:

“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” 2:9

“Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that a murderer has no life in him (Christ)” 3:15

“If any one says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” 4:20

In other words (in case you missed it) there is no hate in the Kingdom of God. And if anyone claims to be a Christian, but hates a person or group of people, John says they’re not really a Christian. In God’s kingdom, there is a zero tolerance policy on racism, sexism, classism, and every other “-ism” you can think of that makes it ok to hate someone.

Hate illegal immigrants? God’s love isn’t in you. Repent. Hate black people? God’s love isn’t in you. Repent. Hate homosexuals? Republicans? Democrats? Slow drivers? Old people? Teenagers? Coffee drinkers? Mormons? Basketball players? God’s love isn’t in you. Repent.

Some people will argue semantics at this point. They’ll say, “Jared, when John uses the word ‘brother’ he means ‘fellow Christian.’ So when he says, ‘Don’t hate your brother’ he means, ‘Don’t hate fellow believers.'” True, the Greek word for “brother” is often used in that sense, but if that’s your argument, you’re leaving the door open to hate someone. If John only meant don’t hate fellow believers, then you’re saying it’s ok to hate unbelievers. I’m not comfortable with that, because of 1 John 4:8- “God is love.”

There’s a group in Kansas that honestly believes they’re doing God’s work. The patriarch of the family also “pastors” their family “church” and leads them in protests and acts of hate. They picket the funerals of soldiers who have died in combat. They picket at abortion clinics, school plays, political rallies- they picket everything. They carry signs that say, “God hates you.” Their website calls Billy Graham “the great false prophet of our day” for preaching “the love and forgiveness of God.” It also declares Rick Warren a “lying whore” for encouraging churches to “be involved in solving world problems, like poverty and AIDS.” And they do it all in the name of Jesus.

This group is not a Christian group. They do not reflect the love, forgiveness, mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. Does God hate sin? Yes, but he loves people. He loves them more than I ever could, or could even imagine. When people spew hate in the name of God, it is not of God and it doesn’t bring him glory, honor or pleasure.

God is love. We are God’s children. Values are taken seriously in this family. Do you claim to be a Christian? Then your responsibility is to love people. There’s no way around it, no way out of it, and the Bible couldn’t make it any clearer. Love people. Period.

  1. amen. and amen. good stuff – i couldn’t agree more.

  2. Jessica W. says:

    I wish there was a like button. I couldn’t agree more. Love reading BDB!

  3. Edwin Christian says:

    Jared, I agree to a point but… When I was at Oklahoma Baptist University we did a study on this very subject. Below is one of the accounts I came up with. Thanks for your wonderful work..Ed

    Biblically speaking, there are positive and negative aspects to hatred. It is acceptable to hate those things that God hates; indeed, this is very much a proof of a right standing with God. “Let those who love the Lord hate evil” (Psalm 97:10a). Indeed, the closer our walk with the Lord and the more we fellowship with Him, the more conscious we will be of sin, both within and without. Do we not grieve and burn with anger when God’s name is maligned, when we see spiritual hypocrisy, when we see blatant unbelief and godless behaviour? The more we understand attributes and love God’s character, the more we will be like Him and the more we will hate those things that are contrary to His Word and nature.
    However, the hatred that is negative surely has to be that which is directed against others. The Lord mentions hatred in the Sermon on the Mount: “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:22). The Lord commands that not only should we be reconciled with our brother before we go before the Lord, but also that we do it quickly (Matthew 5:23-26). The act of murder itself was certainly condemned, but hatred is a ‘heart’ sin, and any hateful thought or act is an act of murder in God’s eyes for which justice will be demanded, possibly not in this life but at the judgment. So heinous is the position of hate before God that a man who hates is said to be walking in darkness, as opposed to the light (1 John 2:9, 11). The worst situation is that of a man who continues professing religion but remains at enmity with his brother. The Scriptures declare that such a person is a liar (1 John 4:20), and he may fool men, but not God. How many believers live for years pretending that all is well, putting on a front, only to be found finally wanting because they have harboured enmity (hatred) against a fellow believer?
    Hatred is a poison that destroys use from within, producing bitterness that eats away at our hearts and minds. This is why the Scriptures tells us not to let a “root of bitterness” spring up in our hearts (Hebrews 12:15). Hatred also destroys the personal witness of a Christian because it removes him from fellowship with the Lord and other believers. Let us be careful to do as the Lord advised and keep short accounts with everyone about everything, no matter how small, and the Lord will be faithful to forgive, as He has promised (1 John 1:9, 2:1).

  4. Matt Richard says:

    Preached from the same passage…….glad to know we came to the same conclusion!

  5. randomlychad says:

    So am in the clear to continue “hating” other bloggers on Wednesdys?


  6. […] least that’s what my new blogging buddy (and new daddy–again) Jared Hollier tells me: teh hates is teh bads. Well, Jared, in case you didn’t notice: I’ve made a cottage industry of […]

  7. Evan says:

    Great post, christianity is so much more simple when you follow the great commandments. Love God, and love people.
    The sad thing is, most people who say they only need to love other believers do a terrible job loving other believers.

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