Am I a Murderer?

James C. Curtis
Athens, Alabama

During these trying times we would all do well to pause ever so often, and examine ourselves. Not someone else, but old number 1, ourselves. Paul said to the Corinthians: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates." (2 Cor. 13:5). Again "But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (1 Cor. 9:27). Again Paul spoke concerning the Lord's supper; "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." (I Cor. 11:28) In any examination that we might conduct then, we should begin with ourselves. This brings us to our provocative (for good we pray) question: "Am I a murderer?"

It will be easy for anyone conducting this examination to find out if, he is a murderer or not at once. Just turn over in the New Testament to I John 3:15 and let John tell us: "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." Having read this now dear brother, I do not need to guess any longer, I know. Yes I can tell the moment I read this, that if I hate my brother I am a murderer, because the Holy Spirit guided this apostle to say so many words.

One of the most detestable characters mentioned in the Old and New Testaments is a murderer. His name is Cain. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain. (Jude 11) Of course Cain actually murdered his brother, but we will stand just as condemned in the day of judgment if we were to die hating our brother as Cain did when he murdered his brother Abel. (Gen. 4:15; Jude 11) Paul says that one of the dreadful works of the flesh is murder, and "That they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21) Hate is not a trait of the child of God, let us pray then brethren, that this terrible thing called hate never darkens our minds.

If any brother among the brotherhood hates another brother, let him read the following and apply it to himself; "If a man say I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (I John 4:20) I believe, with all my heart, that we as brethren in the Lord could face any problem that came along, if we would have more love for each other. Any informed Christian knows that the Church now faces grave dangers, but we will be able to combat them all "if" we will cease our hating brethren. Sometimes a Gospel preacher is hated because he tells us the truth. This ought not to be. (See Gal. 4:16). I attended a service at a Church of Christ about a year ago, where I heard a wonderful scriptural lesson on the mission of the Church. As we departed: there were some few who made such remarks as "I just fairly hate him." When I heard it, I became kindly "Sick at my stomach." This is a shame brethren when all in the world that the preacher contended for was the all-sufficiency of the Church. His argument ran something like this; (1) The word of God is the seed of the kingdom. (Lk. 8:11) (2) That those who obey the word constitute the kingdom (or Church). (Lk. 8:15) (3) That the word of God is perfect or complete. (2 Tim. 3:16) Thus the Church is perfect or complete since like begets like. Now is this anything to cause the animosity to be raised in a brother's heart? No! what then? He, (the preacher under consideration simply told them the truth, and became their enemy. Those who truly love God will love to hear his word on any subject, and will never hate the servant of God who preaches to them the truth.

We are taught abundantly in the Bible that we must love. Love your brother, Rom. 12:10; Love your enemies, Matt. 5:44; this is the way to push out hate, just read the word of God and apply it to our lives, work in his vinyard and love everyone and hate no one, anywhere.

Ponder these scriptures in your hearts Christian, "Let brotherly love continue." (Heb. 13 :1 ) "As touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love another." (I Thess. 4:9) "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." (I John 3:14) ... My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue but in deed and in truth." (I John 3:18.)

Human tribunals might not condemn one for hating another, as long as that one does not manifest that hate by resorting to violence, but God will condemn for hating just as He will for murdering. (I John 3:15; Rev. 21:8.) Finally; "I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know, and that no lie is of the truth." (I John 2:21.)

Truth Magazine II:2, pp. 23-24
April 1958