“It’s good to know who hates you and it’s good to be hated by the right people.” –Johnny Cash
I had never been HATED before. Abandoned, rejected, abused, neglected? Yup, yup, sure. Very wounding. But HATED? It’s a new one. Hard to process.
The FLESH reflex is, of course, to hate them BACK.
God’s way, though? For those of us who really want to know? More complicated. We know we aren’t perfect, wonder if it was something we did wrong. Flesh prefers to dwell on what THEY did wrong. Spirit wonders WHY they did it.
Maybe THEY were hated as a child. Seems normal to them.
Maybe they want something we have. First cousin to jealousy maybe?
Mental illness? Delusional, irrational, over-medicated?
NO WAY TO KNOW. WE AREN’T GOD.
But we DO want to know what we should DO about it. How we should respond. Jesus was pretty plain: FORGIVE.
Yeah. Easier said than done, Lord. CHOOSING it. Processing it. Crying about it. Does that count?
Some of us complicate it by fighting back. Venting. Passing it on, even. Have a lifelong tendency to open that can of WhoopAss over every slight. Maybe we had to do it where we grew up, maybe that was our model. But we struggle with the tendency now that we’re Christians. Have to add a little SHAME to the final goal when we ARE able to forgive.
Some of us are not fighters. My own wounded flesh from childhood preps me for “Flight” not “Fight.” That makes me more susceptible to the devil’s whisperings and my own negative thinking. SELF condemnation. Those FALLEN spirits looove to tell us what WE did wrong. “Easy pickins,” someone told me once. Sadly, yes. Adding DEPRESSION to the final goal when we ARE able to forgive.
Either way, an outright HATE ATTACK is hard to process. “WWJD” becomes the dilemma, the heart’s inner plea.
What WOULD Jesus do?
JESUS TELLS HIS FOLLOWERS TO FORGIVE… 70 TIMES SEVEN!!! (Matthew 18:21-23)
Ouch. I’m 69 tries behind on that one.
But I’m working on it.
The things from His Word that have helped so far:
But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).
- LOVE them. Whaaat?!?!!? Yes. “Love” in scripture isn’t the warm fuzzy FEELING we tend to think it is. It is simply wanting God’s best for someone. Pray for them. That they have a heart attack and go away? Probably not what God meant, O darn. Pray for their SOUL. If they HATE that much they are NOT “saved.” HATE is the devil’s language, not the children of God. Our mission here in this fallen world is to bring others to heaven not hell.
BLESS them as able (thoughts, words, or deeds). Speak kindly BACK to them, maybe even go FIRST. Scripture even says when we do that we “heap burning coals on their head.” CONVICTS them of their behavior. Gives them an EXAMPLE of how a true believer DOES behave. WARNING: A Biblical “but…” In Matthew chapter 16 He warns his apostles to be “wise as serpents, innocent as doves.” If the hater is DANGEROUS, He doesn’t seem to expect us to sit still for more abuse, does He? Even warned them to “flee to the next city” if they were persecuted in that same chapter. So BE SAFE and PRAY FROM AFAR!
Hating YOURSELF for whatever mistakes you made is not God’s way EITHER. If you sinned, you ask Him to forgive you with the intention in your heart to not repeat it. Bottom line, God LOVES you. There is now NO condemnation. Works on YOU just as well as it works on THEM. And has an ETERNAL reward instead of a fleeting gratification.
Hope this helps some of YOU going through something hard. Hope some of you share what has helped process a similar trial. We ARE all in this together. Even when it FEELS so very alone.
The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:22
…therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [o]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40