The Greatest of These

Just a thought . . .

There are two ways to defeat hate. The first is to dominate it. Depending on your resources and influence, you may have some success containing, controlling, and coercing it for a while. But persecution often makes hate stronger. Eventually, you’ll have to kill it. To eliminate it completely, you must be willing to become your own version of it, because nothing less than hate can devalue a life enough to destroy it. Which means at some point, you’ll have to defend yourself against those who want to defeat your brand of hate.

The second? To genuinely love the hell out of people. That is, to love them so well, the enemy has no power over you, and loses control over those you unyieldingly love. That doesn’t mean submitting yourself to their abuse. It means submitting yourself to God’s grace. A grace so great, it empowers you to become a living demonstration of the love which makes hate run in fear.

At its root, that’s what hate is—fear. Hate is the un-renewed mind’s reaction to fears of loss, pain, rejection, and failure. Hurt people submit to hate to fight the fear of being hurt again. But this love in you—the love with which the Father gave us his son, the love with which Jesus chose the cross, the love with which the Holy Spirit comforts, guides, and blesses you—this love overcomes all fear.

“‘You’ve been taught to love those who are like you, and to hate those who aren’t. But I say, love your enemy. Bless those who curse you, do something wonderful for those who hate you, and respond to those who persecute you by praying for them. That’s what brings forth your true identity as children of God’” (Matt. 5:43-45).

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