“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him” (1 John 3:15).
Hatred is the same thing as murder.
Jesus constantly challenged us to not only examine our own outward behaviors, but to also constantly keep our inward selves in check. In Matthew, He equates lust to adultery, and in 1 John, He illustrates an even stronger example, saying that hatred is the same as murder.
Sure, there probably aren’t a lot of Christians who would say they “hate” someone, but if we’re honest with ourselves, our actions don’t always bear that out. Because for Jesus, hatred wasn’t simply wishing ill on someone—it was the absence of love: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.”
The verse is simply about not hating—it’s about not loving. That’s why it’s so challenging and so frequently ignored.
When we talk bad about someone—a friend, a cultural figure, a leader—if our motivations are not born out of love and correction, then we should carefully check our motives. That’s partly why Jesus used such dramatic examples: It’s easy to judge outward actions, but for God, it all comes down to matters of the heart. (Jesse Carey/Relevant Magazine)