Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 1 John 3, verse 15.
The suburban soccer mom who waits in line for her first grader and detests the woman in front of her is a murderer. The man who sits in church and harbors grudges against people who hurt his family is a murderer. The saintly grandmother sitting in her quaint little house while talking trash about her neighbors is a murderer.
We can go on like this all day long. I’m betting you can see where it’s going.
Repeat after me: I’m guilty. I’m a murderer. Think of hearing the sound of slamming bars behind you, and the guards rattling the cellblock. You’re a murderer. This prison is where you belong. Indeed, think of your cell as a cell on death row. You’re stuck within the tiny, cold, gray cell that is the consequences of all the murders you’ve ever committed. And make no doubt about it: me and you? We’re practically serial killers. We’ve killed so many, so many times that we’re beyond public enemy number one. We’re dripping with the blood of saints (and sinners).
For us, death awaits. Horrible execution, unthinkable pain. And here’s the most horrible part of it: this never ends. It’s prison, terror and execution over and over again for all eternity. Forever. Every day will be the lonely terror of incarceration with the worst of the worst until the time when the executioner walks us to the chopping block and swings the ax yet again.
We belong in that cell, destitute, abandoned, forgotten, punished. We deserve the punishment, the knife that swings over and over in the never ending torture and pain.
Now picture something else. Picture a man of bright light pushing back your cell door. Picture the man with holes in His hands, and this knowing, loving look on His face. Envision Him taking you by the hand and walking you out. There are many of us in this prison, and He walks from cell to cell, beckoning the men within to join Him and walk out free. Up ahead is the door and you can see outside the prison, outside where there are no fences, bars, or guards. Outside is freedom and the Man, now smiling beside you, is guiding you to that place.
Me, David: I was a murderer. So were you, along with the soccer mom, the grudge-bearing dad and the neighborhood gossip. We are all guilty of murder for harboring the anger that is the seed of murder. There’s no place for it in believers because Christ crowds out all that darkness with His undeniable light.
Lord of light, crowd out the hatred I let grow in my heart. Release me from the prison of my sins and take me with You.