Overcoming Hate with Love
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 (NIV)
This is definitely not what our culture tells us. I actually don’t know if there’s anything more counter-cultural in the world today than responding to evil with good. Forgiveness. Grace. Turning the other cheek. All of these teachings are from Jesus, not the world.
Jesus teaches us that we are to fight darkness with light. We fight hatred with love. We fight unkindness with kindness. We overcome evil with good. Now, that’s a step of faith, isn’t it? That’s tough to do.
But it gets even harder: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 NIV).
PRAY for those who persecute you? PRAY for your enemies? Is that easy? Not at all. Is it a choice you can make? It absolutely is. It’s your choice to respond better than the other person. It’s your choice to pray for the person who is offending you or attacking you.
God wants you to show love to even the hardest hearts by praying for them and asking God to give them hearts like his.
And, praying for your enemies is actually one of the most effective ways to battle an offense. That means, you are letting God fight the battle for you. You are using His spirit to give you enough self-control to not retaliate and trust that God will handle the situation. Only God can change the heart of your enemy.
You can’t get this kind of love and self-control from yourself. It has to come from the Holy Spirit. The closer you draw to Jesus, the more you will start to respond to situations and people like him. Jesus gave us the greatest example of responding in love and praying for enemies. When you follow his example, you’re going to stand out in a world where everyone thinks of themselves first.
Take the step of faith to overcome evil with good and overcome hate with love. It will not always be easy, but it will make you a powerful witness for Christ.