Hate comes from fear. Everything ugly and malicious in the world is a result of fear. Hatred for others comes from our fear of being weak, appearing vulnerable, and losing control. We’re afraid of not being safe. When we don’t feel safe, then we want to get active. We want to do something. We choose sides. We rally around a cause, and we cry, “To hell with the law, we need justice!”

As events play out, we allow ourselves to become emotional. It’s easy to slip into emotionalism. The police officers that killed George Floyd did it so blatantly that it rightfully shocked, distressed, and scared us.

That feeling of losing control also stirred others to burn shops, attack police and civilians, and riot. Their just anger towards police brutality, corruption, or systemic racism has made them pawns in a campaign of discord.

But, when we meet hate with hate, we perpetuate a cycle of fear and discord. When a child of an abusive parent regularly experiences that brutality, when he grows up and sees others being brutalized, it pushes him further down the rabbit hole of fear and hate.

When we see someone behaving maliciously, we want to react. We want to do something. We want to fight back and prove we’re not weak and vulnerable. But we can’t meet violence with more violence. That doesn’t resolve our unrest. Our divisions will grow. We will become more scattered and more afraid of each other.

Satan scatters, and God gathers. Satan divides and defeats us, and the Holy Spirit gathers us together to submit to the Lordship of Christ.

The only way to overcome fear and hate is not to retaliate. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” We must not validate hate by allowing ourselves to become pawns in a campaign of discord. We’re not puppets; we’re Christians. Our side of the battlefield flies the standard of Christ Jesus: a blood-red cross against a field of pure white. Jesus’ blood purifies our hearts and drives out all fear.

We must not bite at each other and take chunks out of each other. That is a “work of the flesh,” as Paul explains. Instead, we must pray God’s Spirit will enlighten our minds so that we’re lifted out of the density of the material world to see what is spiritual. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12).

Hate comes from fear, but who benefits from our fear? Who benefits from us hating each other? As I’ve written elsewhere, “Satan scatters, and God gathers. Satan divides and defeats us, and the Holy Spirit gathers us together to submit to the Lordship of Christ.” Corrupt police officers, destructive rioters, and all those who say that their kind of justice is more important than the rule of law are puppets in Satan’s campaign of unrest and discord.

He wants us afraid and emotional because then we’re easy to manipulate. Then we become pawns in a demonic game whose aim is the destruction of our families, communities, and ultimately God’s house because a house divided cannot stand.

What’s happening in our society right now is not just about police brutality, or destruction of property, or racial injustice. It’s evil versus good, Satan versus Christ Jesus. But unlike the people who are blinded by fear and hate, we know how this battle plays out. We already know how the war will conclude. Jesus wins.

So let us pray that we do not become pawns in Satan’s campaign. Instead, we can pray for God’s Spirit to arm us for battle so we can go out to meet the enemy with the truth and the Gospel of peace. We can fight hate with love, despair with joy, unrest with peace, emotionalism with forbearance, anger with kindness, ugliness with goodness, hard-heartedness with faithfulness, and violence with gentleness and self-control.

We already know how the war will conclude. Jesus wins.

Then, when people cry, “To hell with the law, we need justice!” we may reply, “Behold, the Lamb of God who sacrifices himself for the injustices of the world, and against the fruits of His Spirit there is no law.”