How You Can Overcome Hate

“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday afternoon my husband and I strolled down Fayetteville Street in Raleigh from the State Capitol Building to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. We stopped to get fresh juice on a side street before returning to our car. After weeks of silent streets, it was a joy to see families enjoying the spring day. While restaurants were still closed or taking only sidewalk orders, life promised the return of normal. Little did we know that in a few hours this peaceful street would erupt in chaos as rioters smashed windows and destroyed property.

In sadness and horror, my family watched the local and national displays of evil spewed across our TV screen. A local news commentator apologized for the foul language being shouted in the background. A friend shared a text from her brother who serves with a neighboring police department.

He said, “Help, protect me,” calls are coming in from all over the city. The violence he experienced was from “blood related gangs.” These gang members are viciously attacking the police they outnumber. His partner compared it to being in Afghanistan.

The Battle Between Love and Hate

I listened to two live social media concerts of praise and worship while this was going on and marveled at the contrast between the news and these virtual gatherings that lifted up the name of Jesus. Men and women from every race joined together lifting their prayers and praises to God over Pentecost weekend.

I wondered what would happen if our news covered the worship rallies instead of the hate mobs. Then realized lack of media coverage can’t hinder the power of God released through worship. I can’t control what the news covers, but I can choose what I listen to.

What would happen if our news covered the #worship rallies instead of the hate mobs? I can't control what the news covers, but I can choose what I listen to. #overcome Share on X

Getting to the Root of the Problem

Many call this a racial problem. The Bible calls it a sin problem. Destruction and theft for any reason, whether against an individual or against a community, are manifestations of sin. “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy” (Jn. 10:10 NLT). Sin destroys individuals, families—and nations.

Injustices should move us. But, as Mama used to say, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Hearing of the destruction and remembering the small business owners we’d chatted with that day, who have already suffered great loss through the quarantine, saddened and infuriated me. To respond in kind to wrong doers makes me like them.

So how do we overcome evil? The Bible shows us.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. …Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17-21).

Evil is infectious. When we try to avenge wrong, it overcomes us.

The Power of Forgiveness

In contrast, my husband once talked with a woman whose family showed strength in the face of evil. Her father had suffered cruelty at the hands of racists. She also experienced racial prejudice. Larry asked her how she dealt with it. She said her father always said, “Don’t let them make you become like them.”

Her father forgave. This loving and gentle role model inspired her rise above the injustices she’d suffered. Father and daughter became better instead of bitter. They practiced what Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”

#Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. #healing Share on X

How Can We Overcome Hate?

  • Don’t paint all who sympathize with a cause with the same brush.
    I support peaceful pro-life demonstrations. But I am horrified and ashamed when someone blows up a clinic in the name of pro-life. As my friend’s brother observed, he doubted much of this violence has anything to do with George Floyd.
  • Keep a clean heart.
    Hate poisons the one who harbors it. Guard yourself against bitterness. Turn that fire into fuel for good. I have to guard myself from too much news. When I put myself in a position to fret and fume, I open myself to sin (Ps. 37:8). “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8 NLT).
  • Ask God to bless your enemies.
    There is still only one solution for sinners—Jesus (Rom. 4:24). By repentance and faith, they can become new creations in Christ and experience the peace and love He provides.

My sister texted me a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. on his knees. In the background, his followers joined him in prayer. I close with his words,

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

What helps you overcome the battles in your heart



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Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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  1. Ann Musico

    Well said Debbie. Love is the bottom line because He is love and nothing overcomes love. I agree that these shameful demonstrations have nothing to do with George Floyd.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann. “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 Jn. 5:4

  2. DiAnn Mills

    Outstanding post, Debbie. Thank you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, DiAnn. As you know, writing can be therapeutic when you need to process your thoughts and feelings.

  3. Melissa Henderson

    Prayer definitely helps me in times of trouble. Prayer also uplifts and encourages at all times. I am praying for God to heal hearts and minds.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen to all of that, Melissa!

  4. J.D. Wininger

    I am reminded in times like these that this is no longer my home. While I will protect what God has blessed me with to steward, I do my best to rise above this world through prayer and meditation on God’s word; not the news media.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, J.D.!

  5. Laurie

    What a timely post, Debbie. Asking God to bless our enemies is hard but it’s exactly what we are called to do. We can’t allow our hearts to be hardened by the violence we see on the news.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Laurie, honestly, the way I can do that is to know the best blessing is for God to reveal Himself to them and deliver them from the chains of darkness. Then we’re all blessed! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Calvonia Radford

    I commend you for the courage to address these horrific current events. It is not easy to speak from your heart not knowing if the soul you lay open will e pierced because of misunderstanding. I too hate the violence and destruction. I am angry because what could have been peaceful protesting has been hijacked over and over by evil men and women from other states who wreak havoc. I am saddened by both police brutality and racism as well as violence against the men in blue who sacrifice their lives daily to protect. It is time to take a stand for justice on both sides of the street. God commands us to love justice. Love covers a multitude of sin. Blog post like this reveal the ungodliness and help bring healing. Thank you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Calvonia! You expressed the issues well. I have to believe sensible people, especially those who love God, also love mercy and want justice for all. Peaceful protests enlighten and garner sympathy for just causes. For thugs from other states to undermine that and wreck havoc is evil. Thank you again. I appreciate your thoughts.

  7. Maree dee

    Debbie – I loved this post. My heart is so saddened by all that is going on in our world. We are destroying the good with the bad. I agree love is in the way to battle this and, of course, with God. Thank you for sharing with us at Grace & Truth Link-Up.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Maree Dee. My God help us overcome evil with good.

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