Thou Shall Not Hate

by: Bill Bratt


Jesusí instructions to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount is part of the basics of Christianity on how to be a Christian. Jesus amplified several of the commandments and we are going to look at what He said about the Sixth Commandment: "Thou shalt not murder."

Jesus said: "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.' {22} "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. {23} "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, {24} "leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. {25} "Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. {26} "Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny" (Matthew 5:21-26).

Jesus begins to magnify the sixth commandment and moves it to the spirit of the law. Notice in verse 22 that Jesus says that "whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment."

Judgment is a legal proceeding, like being brought into court.

Being angry is an emotional feeling of showing anger. Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism. Synonyms are rage, fury indignation and wrath.

Jesus is indicating that "anger" is the root cause of murder. Anger is verbalized in put-downs and lack of respect. The term 'Raca!' means "good for nothing." The term Ďyou foolí is a statement of condemnation. You would be implying that the person is guilty and you are sentencing him to death and therefore you have committed murder.

In verse 23, if you are at fault in offending a brother, you are to resolve the problem before it goes to court. If you are found guilty you will bear the full impact of the court, along with court costs, fines, penalties and perhaps jail time.

Letís see what the apostle John said about murder: "For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, {12} not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous. {13} Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. {14} 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. {15} Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:11-15).

What was the reason for Cain murdering his brother? Because his works were evil and his brother's works were righteous. Righteousness can provoke hostility in the minds of those whose actions are evil. People in the world can hate a righteous man and it is due to the fact that the evil man sees in the righteous man the condemnation of himself. He sees what he is not and what in his own heart he knows he ought to be, and because he will not repent and change, he seeks to eliminate the righteous man who reminds himself of his loss of goodness.

In verse 14, John admonishes us to "love the brethren." We must love our brothers and sisters in our family and we must also love our brothers and sisters in our church family. Believers should love one another as Christ loves the church. (Ephesians 5:25).

Letís notice in verse 15, that "whoever hates his brother is a murderer."

To Hate is to criticize sharply, to feel extreme enmity and hostility toward others. Synonyms are: detest, abhor and loathe.

Whenever a person has hatred in his heart then he becomes a potential murderer. The attitudes of anger and hatred eliminates the opportunity for eternal life.

We need to have the attitude of love like Jesus had: "By this we know love, because He (Jesus) laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16). How do we do this? By letting the mind of Christ be in us (Philippians 2:5) and following Christís example (1 Peter 2:21). We can always ask the question: What would Jesus do?

Now letís return to Jesusí comments in His Sermon on the Mount: "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, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-44).

Jesus takes love to the next level by telling us not to hate our enemies but to love them. We are to "do good to those who hate you."

A very important thing that we must do if we have an attitude problem with the spirit of hate toward someone is to humble ourselves and forgive them so God will forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15).

In Conclusion: Jesus amplified the commandment: "Thou shall not murder" from the physical to the spiritual: "Thou shall not hate." We must repent of hatred and anger and replace those emotions with love for our neighbors.