vv.7-11 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. (8) Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. (9) He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. (10) He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. (11) But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
Two things can be learned from these verses. The first is found in vv.7-8: The commandment to love is both old and new. It’s old because the Bible says in Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. It’s new because Jesus said in John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another and again in John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. The old commandment told us to love our neighbor as ourselves while the new tells us to love them as Christ has loved us! That’s a big difference.
The second thing that we learn from these verses is found in vv.9-11: As Christians, we should not hate. It’s been said that hate is like acid. It damages the vessel in which it is stored and destroys the object on which it is poured. It kills both the person who you hate, and yourself. It’s been said that hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat. There are many verses in the Scriptures that deal with this subject. They include 1 John 2:9-11; 3:10, 15; 4:20-21.
We need to be honest with God and confess our feelings of hatred for other people so that God can replace our hatred with His love. Yes, God does now whether we choose to admit is our not.