The first time I ever saw the word #haters, was on a cap my daughter was wearing. I had no idea what it meant. (And not wanting to appear to be an uninformed, uncool mom, I did not ask.) That was about 6 years ago. At the time, I was keeping my head down, working 9 – 5 and just getting on with my life.
Fast forward 5 years and I now KNOW what a #hateris. It is someone who has a problem with you and everything that you do. They are just waiting to tear you down, criticize you and spread gossip and slander about you. Oh yes – I know what #hatersare now.
People are funny. As long as you are just ticking along, struggling to get by, living a ‘normal’ life, they have no problem with you. You are just like them. Talking about the same issues, whining about how hard life is, and generally just going with the flow. Then everyone likes you. They have encouraging words for you. But the minute that you step up and do something with your life, it all seems to change. After you have taken a huge leap of faith to step out and start the journey to BE who you know you are called to be – watch out. The #hatersare coming for you!
Out of nowhere they will hurl insults, opinions and negative criticisms at every turn. No matter what you do someone, somewhere is going to find fault and be especially vocal about it. They are going to try to ‘pull you down to size’. It’s like they want you to get back in the box they have for you. And that is just it. They have a box for you. They have a label for you. The moment you break out of it, it affects their world and challenges them and they 'hate' you for it. So they react. #onsocialmediaofcourse
I have thought a lot about this, because I find #haterattacks very hard. It does not matter if it is someone attacking you on social media, in person or in writing. It hurts. It feels like someone punching you. And while you may have had 30 other people tell you that you are awesome and inspiring, it's the #hater’s words that cut into you like a knife. I was pondering this one day, when I came across a podcast by Paul Scanlon. He explained that the reason this is so, is that when people want to criticize you or speak negatively about you, there is an ‘energy’ that comes with their words. They are not just words, they do actually pack a punch designed to knock you out. That made so much sense to me.
The more I thought about it, I realized that the energy that comes with these words is the weapon of the enemy designed to hurt and wound you. When we criticize and speak negatively about others, we are coming into agreement with the enemy’s opinion of that person and there is great power in unity. So the words (spoken or written) that agree with the enemy's idea for you, become the weapons that inflict damage on the one that is being spoken about. I know that we know this, but do we really KNOW this. I think that if we truly believed that, ‘the tongue has the power of life and death’ (Proverbs 18:21), then we would stop and think before saying some things. (#justsaying)
After a particularly bad bout of #haterattack recently, I was sitting with the Lord, licking my wounds and generally feeling sorry for myself. I decided to read from the book of Acts because I realized that Paul must have felt like I was feeling at times. (At least no one has tried to stone me!) And I came upon Acts 14:22:
“…strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
I had always understood this verse to mean that we are going to go through a lot of trouble and trials in order to enter the kingdom, so suck it up and stop whining. But on this day, it so happened that I was reading the Passion translation of the Bible. This is how the verse reads :
At each place they went, they strengthened the lives of the believers and encouraged them to go deeper in their faith. And they taught them, “It is necessary for us to enter into the realm of God’s kingdom, because that’s the only way we will endure our many trials and persecutions.(emphasis mine)
Now that changed everything. It was like Holy Spirit hit me over the head and shouted, “Come on Beverley. You can do this.” Entering the Kingdom of Heaven means that we engage the realm of the spirit and step into Mount Zion, which is part of our inheritance as sons of God. I thought about it and realized that I know how to step into Mount Zion. I know how to get before His throne. I have even preached messages about the fact that we need to live from Mount Zion and get our perspective from there and not from earth. But now I understood it even better. Paul was saying that we are ALWAYS going to have #haters. There will always be people who are threatened by you, do not agree with you and do not want to see you or your message go forth. Paul understood that this is the nature of the Kingdom message. Jesus even told us in John 15:18 – 19
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
And I guess I had read these scriptures so often, but having never really experienced it firsthand, I did not get it. Now I do. We must set our mind on things above. We must look at our situation from the heavenly place in which we are seated with Christ. That perspective is to direct our hearts and responses. Because when we see it from His perspective, we understand that our #hatersare people stuck in their own prisons of insecurity, jealousy and wounding. From this perspective, you can easily pray for your enemies and your #haters, bless them and release them into His hands. Then you can get on with fulfilling your calling and destiny.
We are ALWAYS going to have people who love us, people who hate us and people who are indifferent to us. See them all from the perspective of Mount Zion and keep moving forward!