- Reflect on this Scripture alone or in a small group.
Before diving into the deep end with my Paramedic certification, I dabbled in the heat of fire science sorceries. Each day I went to the Fire Training Center, I would pass a church by an intersection on Waterloo’s East side. An area of town that gets a bad rep for crime, poverty, and violence. During a time of nationwide unrest, racial tension, and deep political division, there was a marquee sign on the church’s overhang that stated, “Stop Hate of All Forms.” It was a simple request from a supposed lousy side of town that conveyed immense calls for love, acceptance, and unity. And if I’m not mistaken, the words on that sign are still there six years later. Still silently pleading on that quaint corner church, still nevertheless unanswered in a world enthralled by hate.
In Romans 12: 9-21, Paul calls on us to only hate one thing: evil. He then gives us an elaborate disposition on how to combat it. We should be zealous in our devotion to God, our affection for others, our hospitality, and our strife for unity and peace. What does this mean, exactly? It means when evil shows its ugly face, we need to be the first ones to put a stop to it! You don’t stop hate or evil towards you or someone else by hating the one that casts it. Instead, you do something unexpected. You love the hater, the evildoer, and the enemy. Offer them drink, food, shelter, clothing, and forgiveness. Bewildering in nature, it messes up the twisted principles of this world. Just like evil, you stop hate by not delivering it back. Overcome evil with good; overcome hate with love. So, let’s give that poor marquee sign a reason to change its words. Let’s stop the hate.
Heavenly Father, You teach me that vengeance against the unjust, the wicked, and the ungodly is for You and You alone to administer. When I face persecution, hatred, and evil, remind me of Your mission, my place in it, and the commandment to love. Help me overcome hate with love. Help me stop hate, starting with my own. Amen