We want to consider today something more about the most dangerous thing in our lives that’s destroying us, sin much worse than sickness. We’ve been looking at that a little but the last few studies but we want to look at it a little more in depth today.

Today we want to look at another sin, which Jesus spoke about which is not considered a sin by a lot of people in the world, and even by a lot of believers. In our last three studies if you remember, we look at the sins that Jesus hated the most, and we saw three of them so far; hypocrisy, pride and selfishness. Now in the world hypocrisy is not hated. Pride is not hated. Selfishness is not hated. Everybody assumes that that’s not serious, a man pretends so what or a man’s proud, or selfish, everybody’s like that. So long as you keep the 10 commandments, the external good life, you’re okay. And unfortunately a lot of believers think like that too. And therefore the lives of many believers are lonely in external life. There’s nothing inward. They’re saved only from the sins, which are external. The thing people could be saved from even under the law before Jesus came. Under the law people were saved for murder, and adultery by the 10 commandments, by the law, but they couldn’t be saved from inward sin. The really serious sins that are destroying us. And in the first page of the New Testament we read, in Matthew 1:21, that Jesus means savior who will personally save you from your sins. And so as I said before, if you don’t understand what sin is, we would never understand what Jesus has come to save us from. He has come to save us from sin, but what is sin? Now we see it a little more clearly. Sin is pretending, being a hypocrite, he has come to save us from that. Sin is pride; Jesus has come to save us from every type of pride, physical pride, spiritual pride, intellectual pride. He has come to save us from selfishness, from thinking just about ourselves.

And today I want to speak about hatred. Now a lot of people do not think of hatred as a sin. The New Testament says, that he who hates his brother is a murderer. It’s as serious as that. 1 John 3:15. If you hate a person it is equivalent to murdering him. Maybe you don’t have the opportunity to murder him. Maybe you’re afraid that if you murder him you’ll get caught. You wouldn’t mind somebody else killing him or he’s having some misfortune. That’s how you know whether you hate a person. Sometimes we may say, “Well I don’t hate anybody really.” But just ask yourself this. Somebody what has done some harm to you, or to your family, maybe some relative who’s cheated you, maybe somebody who has done some real harm to you, maybe somebody who spoiled your reputation, or push you done your job, maybe your boss, or landlord, or someone who’s done some harm to you. And you say, “Yeah I’ve forgiven them.” But when you hear that some calamity happen to him, you feel a little happy. If you feel happy, you know what that shows? That shows that you really hate him. Because you will never be happy when a calamity comes on your son or daughter, someone you love. You can never be happy when a calamity or accident, or misfortune comes to somebody you love. Why are you happy when it happens to that person whom you say you’ve forgiven? No it really proves that you hate him. Or it could be another way, when you hear when something good happened to that man that he got blessed in some way, got a promotion or something wonderful happen to him and you feel a bit unhappy, what is that show? That also shows that you really hate that person. Would you be unhappy that something good to your son and daughter? If your son came first in the class, would you be unhappy? You would be unhappy if somebody else’s son comes first in the class. See if we are unhappy at the blessing or good fortune or some happiness that comes to another person, it show that you really don’t love that person, you hate him. So you see hatred is pretty deeply entrenched in our hearts and we fool ourselves by saying we don’t have it. You say you’re not bitter against a person but the test is this, are you happy when something bad happens to him? Are you unhappy when something good happens to him? Then you are bitter. You might as well face up to it. This is like a scan that the bible gives of your heart. You know in the hospital nowadays give you scan to take a picture of what’s inside your body, which you cannot see. And when the doctor looks to the scan, he says, “Listen, there’s something wrong with you, there’s a tumor there, there’s a cancer there.” And you say, “Well I feel okay. I don’t feel there’s anything wrong.” But maybe you don’t feel it but here’s a scan. There is a tumor and you better remove it whatever you feel good or not. Otherwise it would kill you. And I want to say to you that this is a scan of your heart’s condition. When you are happy with somebody else’s misfortune, the scan says you’ve got a tumor. You better remove it. It’s a tumor called bitterness, an unforgiving attitude. All these things are children of hatred. Hatred got many children; bitterness, jealousy, anger, these are all children that come out of the mother called hatred, and an unforgiving attitude. And the manifestation is as I said that you’re happy when something bad happens to somebody else or you’re unhappy when something good happens to somebody else. And we must be sensitive. Jesus has come to save us from that.

You see God is love. The bible says that again and again. If God is love, tell me the answer to this question. What is Satan? Even a child can answer that one. What is the opposite of love? Hatred. If God is full of love, what is Satan full of? Hatred. So if you got hatred in your heart and how do you know you have it? Well these children are being born through you; bitterness jealousy, an unforgiving attitude. What does it proves? It proves that you’re in fellowship with Satan whether you know it or not. And these things are so deeply entrenched in us that it is impossible for us to be saved from it unless Jesus saves us. You know that salvation from hatred is impossible? You can control your anger, you can control you bitterness and keep it inside. But that’s just like being constipated. You have all that rubbish inside but it doesn’t mean you’re clean. What’s the use of keeping the anger inside and not being cleansed? Or keeping the jealousy inside and say, “Well I don’t manifest it outside, outwardly.” It’s still there within. If the sickness is within, it will still kill you. Even there is no external symptom. And who knows whether it’s within you or not? You yourself. Nobody else may know whether it’s within or not, but you know very well whether it’s there within you or not.

And that’s why we have to be extremely careful whenever we detect that we got the wrong attitude towards somebody. And it’s usually towards people who have harmed us in some way in the past. Jesus spoke about that man who caught another person by the throat because he owed him a little bit of money, but he himself had been forgiven so much by the king. And he didn’t cleanse that wrong attitude in his heart and the result was he finally ended up in jail having to pay back to the king all that large amount that he owed the king. And Jesus was teaching there be careful about a little wrong attitude towards another person. Do you have an attitude where you try to catch somebody by the throat because you feel he owes you something? Yeah, be careful there. It’s not a question of cutting off the fruit; it’s a question of making the tree good. You know Jesus said make the tree good don’t just cut off the fruit and put some good fruit hanging on the tree and fool people that you’re a good person. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 15, he said, “Out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts.” Matthew 15:18, “The things that proceeds from the heart,” verse 19, “evil thoughts, murders.” These are what defile the man. You got to cleanse your heart. In other words the root of the disease, the root of bitterness, the root of jealousy, the root of the unforgiving attitude towards others, that’s what needs to be cleansed if you want to be pure. That’s what Jesus has come to save us from. As I said it’s impossible to be free from it but Jesus can do that. He has come to do what is humanly speaking impossible. He has come to save us from the sin of hatred.
First of all we need to confess, “Lord I thought I have forgiven that person, I haven’t really. I thought I had no hatred in my heart against people but now I realized I do. And I really want to be free. I want to partake of God’s nature, which is full of love. I want to have my heart cleansed of every bit of hatred and all the children of hatred: bitterness, jealousy, everything. And I want to have God’s nature within. One of love, overflowing in goodness, desiring good, desiring the very best for other people.” There is a verse in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled, they will be satisfied.” If you have a tremendous longing in your heart, for the life of God within you, to have love and to be completely free from all hatred, you’ll find that God answers your prayer. It depends on your longing. It’s not enough just to make a weak prayer, “Yeah Lord I got a bit convicted today by what you said, yeah I know it’s not so good my attitude towards that person.” That’s not enough. You won’t be free. You’ll be free only if you have a tremendous longing to be free. Oh God this is an evil thing. Just think if you have aids or leprosy, how you would long to be free. You’d go from one doctor to another one hospital to another, desperate to be free. When you have that type of desperation to be free from the sin of hatred and all of its manifestations, Jesus will set you free.

This is part of the Basic Christian Teachings Series, a set of 72 short messages presented by Zac Poonen.  You can download the audio mp3 files or listen to Basic Christian Teachings by clicking here.