Welcome back to another helping of Real Meat For Real Men! As we once again return to 1 John, we are going to digest some tough, but necessary, teaching for all of God’s men. This teaching is at the root of one the biggest issues men face today. What is that issue? That issue is hatred turned to rage.
The number one issue among men today is not porn or sexual sins. They are huge issues, but they are not #1. The biggest issue is Anger and Rage. These start as hatred. This is not a new thing. Ever since Cain’s hatred led him to murder his brother Abel, anger and rage has been an issue for men. It was apparently an issue for the believers in John’s day and age, so he addresses it in his epistle.
7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
John gets his readers attention by introducing his topic in a way that grabs their interest. He says he has a new commandment for them, but in reality, it is an old commandment. Logically, the reader would be glued to the text, trying to see where he is going with this. John doesn’t keep them in suspense long as he immediately lays out what he wants them to know.
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Ouch! John hits them right between the eyes. He puts it quite bluntly, if you hate someone, you’re not walking under the influence of God. You’re instead following the ways of the enemy and his dark kingdom.
John remembered Jesus commands to love one another and to live in unity with all people. He remembered Jesus teaching that we need to love our enemies and to do good to those who despitefully use them. He knew Jesus wanted us to turn the other cheek. THAT is walking in the light. Hating someone or holding unforgiveness against them doesn’t line up with what John learned from Jesus, so he tells them quite bluntly, “If you’re harboring hate, if you’re not forgiving, you’re not truly following God.”
Sound too harsh? Does it ruffle feathers to say it so bluntly? Good! That was exactly what John was hoping to do! He wanted them to realize the seriousness of allowing hate and anger into their lives. He wanted them to see the downward spiral. What is this spiral?
1. Unforgiveness leads to Hate
When we forgive someone, we extend to them the same mercy and grace that God extended to us when we repented and accepted him as our Lord and Savior. When we refuse to forgive, we pull mercy and grace away and instead replace it with hate, revenge, a host of other ungodly behaviors.
2. Hate leads to Anger
` Hate is a lot like mold. It starts small, but spreads quickly, and eventually consumes everything it comes in contact with. Not only that, but it destroys the things it connects itself to. The same is true when hate takes root in our lives. We start out hating one person, but then the hatred spreads to our other relationships. We become an angry, bitter person, and as a result, we end up destroying our relationships with others. Bruce Banners words “You won’t like me when I get angry” become the motto we live by. We became angry people who lash out others to hurt them instead of being loving people who reach out to others to help them.
3. Anger turns to Rage
Undealt with anger doesn’t just stay inside of us. We may try to suppress it, but it eventually comes out. Like the Hulk who comes out of Bruce Banner, our pent up anger that is never dealt with quickly morphs into rage. We have violent outbreaks and episodes. If I had a nickel for all the men who told me they have punched doors or walls out of rage, I’d be quite comfortable. This doesn’t even include the men who let out their rage on wives and kids instead of walls and doors. Their behavior then starts a new cycle of anger and hate in a new generation. And on and on it goes…it must STOP!
John got this and wrote to the people that, if you hate someone, you’re Christianity is in trouble. Today I say the same thing to you. If you’re harboring hate, you’re spiritually in trouble. If you’re letting anger consume you and you’re relationships, you’re in spiritual trouble. If you’re hitting your wife and kids, I’ll go so far as to say you’re beyond being in spiritual trouble, you are not saved…you need to turn to God and repent and start again. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible that child beaters or wife beaters have a place in Heaven. If you fit into this category, repent, get right with God, and get HELP FOR YOUR PROBLEM! Go to a counselor to deal with your issues, and go to a spiritual deliverance session to deal with the ground you have given to spirits of anger, rage, abuse, hatred, and unforgiveness.
Yes, I know this article is way tougher and much more blunt than any we have had before, but I feel a burning passion from the Holy Spirit to write these words. If your hate, anger and rage have gotten out of control, ask God for forgiveness and beg Him for deliverance. Seek out a counselor, face the issues, deal with the original issue that caused hate, and stop tormenting those who God has entrusted to your care. Get right with God, and change.
If you are the one receiving the anger and hate, I urge you too to get help. I know what you are going through. I have slept with a baseball bat at night while my mom and sister slept with frying pans and rolling pins for protection from our abuser.
I know the hate and anger that grew inside of me because of the abusive actions of others. I also know I couldn’t break free of it until I surrendered my anger and hate and chose instead to forgive and extend the same grace and mercy to my abuser as God extended to me. Then I went for both counseling and spiritual deliverance to break the cycles of hate, anger, rage and unforgiveness. IT IS THE ONLY WAY OUT, and it is the only way to walk in the light.
This is the toughest meat we have chewed on so far in our study, but it is necessary teaching. There is no room for hatred among God’s men. We can’t let it destroy our lives, our families, and our relationships any longer. We can’t continue dragging God and Christianity through the mud as we claim to be a Christian but live like someone in darkness. We can’t allow it to separate us from God and becoming everything he wants us to be. So I encourage you, no I beg you, take this article seriously! Take immediate action. Do not delay.