If you’re not a follower of Jesus Christ because you met a Christian who was hateful toward you, I apologize to you for that person. They were not following Jesus Christ either, or even listening to Him.
John 13:34-35 (GW) 34“I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you. 35Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other.”
Matthew 7:19-20 Any tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into a fire. 20So you will know them by what they produce.
In other words, a true follower of Jesus Christ is loving. We love our neighbors, our enemies, all who reach out to us, all who are suffering, our family, our friends and all others. This type of love develops over time - it’s called agape.
True Christians are the most tolerant, loving people in the world. That doesn’t mean we accept everything. It doesn’t mean we participate in evil. We love the person who has chosen to do evil. But we hate the evil. Christians are commanded to pray for enemies and to do good to those who persecute us. For good reason. Evil separates us from God and results in death.
Matthew 5:44 (GW) But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.
But we do struggle with pain caused by hurtful people, lies, slander, terror and evil in any capacity. That does not mean to hate people — only the evil caused by the people. So how do we overcome the temptation of the stronghold to hate another person?
5 Biblical help to overcome hate:
This is going to take some work on our parts.
1. Pray for those you’re tempted to hate. In dealing with difficult people the first thing we need to do is pray. Pray that God will give you the right words to use if you need to speak to them, and that he will keep you from the evil that may be caused by them.
Hebrews 12:14 (GW) 14Try to live peacefully with everyone, and try to live holy lives, because if you don’t, you will not see the Lord.
2. Forgive quickly. Forgiveness helps take the pressure off our shoulders and weakens the temptation to hate.
Colossians 3:13 (GW) Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
3. Bless the person you’re tempted to hate. If they ask for something from you, give it to them. Nothing should be so important to you that it would separate you from God. In other words, fight hate with love.
Romans 12:20 (GW) 20 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will make him feel guilty and ashamed.”
4. Keep your thoughts pure as much as possible. Think of the good things about the person, or group you’re tempted to hate.
Romans 12:17-19 (GW) 17Don’t pay people back with evil for the evil they do to you. Focus your thoughts on those things that are considered noble. 18As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone. 19Don’t take revenge, dear friends. Instead, let God’s anger take care of it. After all, Scripture says, “I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back, says the Lord.”
5. Don’t let group prejudice infect you. Hate is the opposite of the love we should be sharing.
Galatians 3:28 There are neither Jews nor Greeks, slaves nor free people, males nor females. You are all the same in Christ Jesus.
1 John 4:8 The person who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, because God is love.
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