CONQUERING HATE WITH LOVE

Is your head and heart weary from all the grieving news these past few weeks? Mine sure is.

I keep going back to John 16 where Jesus offers hope to His disciples just before He, Himself, is unjustly killed. Jesus tries to prepare His disciples for what’s coming: his death, burial, resurrection and ascension back to Heaven. But they are so confused. They can’t wrap their minds around it all. 

Just as Jesus is about to face certain death, He prepares His followers to ready their hearts and minds for the persecution they, too, will face. But they won’t face it without HOPE or without HIM.

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

REFRAMING OUR MINDSET

As long as hate lives, innocent people will die.

It’s so easy to think that the tragic news stories of today are unique to our time. But the Bible shows us they are not. As I’ve grieved and wrestled with this, God led me to Matthew 5:43-48.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” 

Jesus knows the anger, confusion and gut-wrenching grief we feel, because He feels it too. But He doesn’t leave us there. He shows us how to move forward in our anger, grief and confusion: BY LOVING OUR ENEMIES. 

LOVE MY ENEMY? WHAT?
Jesus has a way of flipping everything upside down.

– Who is your enemy?
– How did they become your enemy?
– What would it look like for you to love this enemy rather than reciprocate hatred? 
– What would your prayer for them be?

Give yourself permission to sit in this space. It’s a safe space. It’s just you and God. He already knows everything about you and loves you still. Rest in His love as you wrestle with anything that comes up you need to work through.

A PRAYER TO REFRAME

Lord Jesus, we are grieved, confused and angered by the hatred of this world.
The perpetual loss of innocent lives is too much for us to bear.

You have told us to love our enemies, and we’re gonna need Your help to do that. The news is filled with riots and protests, where more innocent lives are being lost in the name of standing up against these hate crimes. 

Lord, we remember that You, Yourself, were the victim of a hate crime. You, Yourself, endured an unjust death because of the selfishness, pride and fear of the people of your day.

We remember You on the cross asking the Father to forgive Your enemies because they didn’t realize what they were doing. We thank You that Your death opened up the gates of Heaven for us to have life. And because of that love, hate will be overthrown forever. 

But now we wait, in the these difficult in between times, before the final battle to end hate once and for all. And we ask that you continue to lead us back to love in the face of hatred.

We thank for the Holy Spirit, the Helper and Counselor, who is here with us guiding us and giving us the power to do these things that are way too big for us to do alone. 

Let the power of the Holy Spirit lead us into Your unshakable peace. Amen.

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