The word “hate” is a strong word. It saddens me to think of how often it’s tossed around like a football in a sports game. To live life fully is more like a battle than a game. When I first began a sincere study of my New Testament Bible as a teenage boy I was haunted by Jesus’ use of the word “hate” in the gospel of John chapter 3. Christ said in this passage, “This is the verdict. Light has come into the world. But men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Whoever practices evil hates the light and refuses to come into the light out of fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes to the light that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been done through God.”
Light overcomes darkness. Love overcomes hate. Courage overcomes fear. Love is a stronger word than hate. Love is also a brave choice. As a boy it came easier to me to hate Jesus than to love him. Love takes hard work and discipline. Christ had and has disciples. A fickle fan club will never really follow Christ. When I think of love overcoming hate it always comes back to the practicing of the Christian faith for me. It is this authentic love that makes me the man I’ve become.
I encourage you to practice the boldness of love rather than the self-centered cowardice of hatred. The battle is worthy of the good fight. Don’t settle for eyes for eyes and evil for evil. A verse in the book of Romans states, “Be not overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”
Life isn’t a game that’s all about winners and losers or prideful comparisons and puffing ourselves up to feel superior to others. The only man I want to be better than is the man I was yesterday. As C. S. Lewis once wrote, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Practice humility, work hard in love, don’t give in to fear, light a large or small candle and keep smiling with joy. Hate the darkness and dance like angels in love’s light.