Wednesday, 25 March 2020
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.1 John 2:11
John now builds upon his thought from verse 9. He said there that if one says he is in the light and yet “hates his brother,” he remains in darkness. Now he says, “But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness.” The verb is present, indicative, active – he is currently walking in the darkness, it is a certainty that this is so, and his walk is ongoing.
In the previous verse, John had said, “He who loves his brother abides in the light.” In this verse, he states the opposite, but it is an all-inclusive thought. To love is a volitional act. However, to hate involves both active hating as well as simply not loving. To not love is to hate. For a person who is in such a condition, he says that he “does not know where he is going.”
A person who walks in the dark cannot sense which direction is right, if there is an open well in front of him, or if a tiger is ready to spring on him. He simply ambles about groping, but unable to find his way. This is a person who is unloving to his brother. And the reason is that “the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
The verb here is in the aorist tense. In hating, blindness occurs. It is a set thing which then continues on from that point. To hate those in the brotherhood is to demonstrate a state of blindness which encompasses the entire state of the individual. Christ is the light of men, and to hate those who are of Christ is to then hate the light of Christ in them. There must, therefore, be an active loving of believers to avoid such a catastrophic state in a person.
Life application: In these verses, the contrast is made to show the complete illumination of the light in the believer’s life and the absolute darkness of the person deceived through hate. Notice that the previous three verses are almost like a light switch for us to use as a demonstration –
1) The brother who hates is in the darkness (regardless of what he claims, the switch is “off”);
2) (Switch on the light and see the contrast…) The brother who loves abides in the light and has no occasion to stumble.
3) (Turn the light back off and see the result – “See, the difference!”) This brother is in darkness, his walk (meaning the direction he is heading) is in darkness and hence he is completely lost. The darkness has robbed him of any light at all. He is overshadowed and overcome by darkness.
Such is the tremendous power of hate. It not only robs us of light, but it robs us of any sense of proper direction, and it also robs us of any possibility of spiritual discernment (thus the “blinded eye” metaphor). The lesson being imparted is obvious – if you are consumed by hate, you have completely departed from spiritual light, regardless of what you claim; you are self-deceived. Hate is powerful and blinding, so be on guard against it.
O God – You who dwell in light, keep us from hating our brothers and thus blinding ourselves to the light of Your word. Take away any bitterness that resides in us and give us the power to hand our grief, frustration, and bitterness over to You. Fill us with love for those brothers who have been our enemies so that we may again walk in Your light, without fear of stumbling. Amen.