Luke said: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27). When we look at this issue objectively and listen with a loving Spirit, we know we have the power to rise above issues like anger and hatred. Even when people do not speak well of us, we can choose not to retaliate. Paul said: "Repay no one evil for evil but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all" (Romans 12:17). If there is any way to control the situation, we should make every effort to live in harmony with everyone, including our enemies. Joseph certainly had the opportunity to take revenge on his brothers, but instead, he chose to save them. Speaking about Jesus, Peter said: "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly" (1 Peter 2:23). We can grumble and complain, or we can respond like Jesus when someone irritates, insults, belittles, or hurts us. Learn to deal with difficult people, and do not forget to bless those who persecute you.
Scripture is clear; the Lord desires that His people follow the path laid out in the Word of God and preached by the apostles. Even after hearing the Word, people look for reasons to hate, and any excuse will do – from the color of someone's hair to their skin color. Many of us, especially people of color, can find themselves in scary situations. This should not be! In times like these, we need to remember that God is with us and did not give us a spirit of fear.
John says, "the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). Do not allow evil actions to lead you to a wicked response that can only result in bitterness or violence. Do not repay evil for evil. Be humble and do what is right for everybody.
Even though it is not right or godly, hate has become commonplace in this living generation. People even invade online meetings to spew hate. We must guard our lives online as closely as we do in our physical space. Do not give in to fear because it breeds hate and thus props up hate crimes and bigotry. We see this phenomenon in this COVID-19 period. However, we must continue to push love and talk down hate of any kind. Let us love one another, "for this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another" (1 John 3:11).
Minister Nettie Pennington, Associate Minister, Springfield MB Church