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Responding to people who hate me

I was sitting on my couch on a recent Saturday evening and Dan’s comment to this blog (an old one that had been hanging out on the internet, not bothering anyone or attracting any particular attention for more than a year) showed up on my computer. I have a policy against obscenity, so I erase…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I was sitting on my couch on a
recent Saturday evening and Dan’s comment to this
(an old one that had been hanging out on the internet, not bothering anyone or attracting any particular attention for more than a year) showed up on my computer. I
have a policy against obscenity, so I erased it.

Dan had it out for Christians and George Bush
(odd, I thought, since no one mentioned him).
Something in him had been violated by some evangelical Christian
somewhere, and he was taking it out on the blog, calling us a variety of vulgar

I actually appreciated Dan
chiming in. We get too insular as Christians. We need to experience the written or verbal
lash of those who violently disagree with us.
My first instinct was to respond in kind, but after settling myself
down, I wrote him this in response:

“Hey Dan – are you normally this
angry in your emails? You throw stones
at random people you don’t even know.
Whatever belief you’re preaching, consider whether this kind of random anger is what you’d
want in a friend. Maybe it’s what you get from your friends, but it isn’t cool.

“I’m not some religious
freak. I’m a normal guy with five kids
trying to figure out life down here on earth. All of us are in the same boat that way – I
hope that humility comes thru in the blog. If it doesn’t,
I apologize. If you knew me you’d see that I don’t shove stuff down people’s throats.
– seth”

Interestingly, Dan didn’t

So, my question to you, my gentle reader, is: Did you ever have anyone hate you? How did you respond and how are you responding even today?

Comments (8)

  • I had some folks thatI worked with in a church setting who, for whatever reason, DID NOT like me. I mean REALLY didn’t like me. They would be friendly in person, but you could easily see through their facade to the actual feelings underneath. (I almost think that is worse than folks who publically and obviously hate) For a long time, I tried various things to get them not hate me, or at least dislike me less, but of course that didn’t work. They had no interest in me, other than to hate. After a while, I got the realization from God that how they felt about me was not my problem. I did some personal checking in my own life to see if their complaints were valid, found a few that needed some work on my part (working on some of that was almost harder than dealing with people who hate), and found that the rest was simply their own insecurity and jealously and fear coming out. The revelation and process changed how I saw them, and myself, forever. They were not to be disliked, but liked even more than before, because they needed. I can’t say that I ever wanted to have them over for dinner, but I was able to work more effectively with them. It changed me in a positive Godly way, and hopefully what they saw in me seeped in and changed them a little too.

    PS When some consequences and misfortune hit them some time later, I was able to respond immediatly (without actual thought) with concern and sadness, and hope that things would work out.It was weird, but in a good way.

  • Just the “Anti-Christ” Spirit that hates any form of Jesus… I have had and I have many people that violently hate me – I pray the Lords prayer everday, and on the part of help me forgive those… I stop and choose to forgive… after a few years, it works! Just need to keep running to forgiveness… GRACE!

  • This is such a wonderful topic for me today! Last night was our final game of the season, I coach for our “Christian” school basketball varsity team, and a parent of one of my players during the game came over to the bench and started yelling at me, telling how horrible of a coach I was for “yelling” at his son(he said some other things too) . Oh, and I will add that this happened at the home gym of our rival opponent. I tried to be polite and say “this is not the place for this,” to no avail, well, things just fell apart and we had a huge loss. After the game, we “made-up” and I took the “blame” for causing a father to feel that I was hurting his son – and I meant it; however, it left me wondering, how I can walk with brethren, taking their offenses, rejections, hurts, gossip, and the like? I did not sleep well last night (never do when there is conflict with brethren), and I have struggled with it today, and reading your post is interesting. Well, I want to be like Jesus, and I love quoting Philippians 3:10-14 “that I might know him…and the fellowship of his sufferings…” so “here I am Lord, send me” St. Mark Romans 8:28

  • Before I left on the World Race I was working as a third shift cashier at Walmart. One night I was talking to a co-worker about the race and another guy overheard the conversation. He jumped in and gave his angry opinion about missionaries going overseas to “change” other people and their culture. He was angry with me, not just at what I was doing. At first I was pretty upset too… “Seriously, who are you to jump into my conversation and give me a lecture.” But after a while I started to wonder what kind of hurt he must have had in his life to put him off missionaries. Something has cut him deep. Perhaps as I grow in my own relationship with Christ I won’t be automtaically offended in these situations, but will be open to seeing their hurts. Had I not been offended I might have been able to better explain what it was I was setting out to do and why. If Gary’s right.. maybe in 3 years. haha

  • I has that comment about “changing other people and their culture.” I also get some emails occasionaly on my blog-spreadtheflame.com. I try to respond in a gentle manner….the servant of God must not quarrel, but be able to teach. I’ll try and teach whoever is willing to listen. I’ll try to listen to their concerns and answer their question, but there are many people are who just “God mockers”. Jesus said we would be hated by all nations for his name’s sake. As long as it’s for Jesus and not my personal faults, I’m ok with the heat.

  • I also had an angry reply to a blog I wrote. The worst part is that other respoders criticized her before I had even read any of it. So not only did I have to respond to her, I also had to defend her. I was really offended at first and had to calm down. I think I rewrote my reply once of twice before sending it, but I also encouraged the dialogue to remain open and invited her to share her perspectives while also listening to mine. We actually communicated a few times and came to a place of respect for eachother. It was great to see how God used that, and redeemed it.

  • What if this hate comes from family? My mom gets this hate from her brothers and sisters and even her own mother who is 86 y.o. My mom felt betrayed and cried out to God all night. She tried telling her mother and sister about what they’ve done and they just get upset and take the blame out on her. My mom is reAlly hurt. This is of course because of the fact that in my family we don’t have enough respect for ourselves. And the rest of my moms family has too much respect for themselves. So my family gets disrespected and pushed down while the others are defended and pushed up and praised. I have said talked a bit with my mom about self respect and how to rebuke based on your blog, but she needs more. Help my mom, please?

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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