Haters Make You Greater

"You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result..." (Genesis 50:20 NASB)

As of late the word "haters" tends to be a much-used pop culture buzzword. I am also noticing many quickly react to their haters meeting the rebuke with prideful resistance. Haters (or critics as they often should be referred to) can serve to correct us and bring necessary balance. Not everyone who disagrees with you, offers their opinions or questions your perspective is your hater. No one is above reproof. The Bible teaches us that God actively resists the proud but gives grace to the humble and that "iron sharpens iron." (James 4:6; Proverbs 27:17) We would be wise to remember this when we're quick to accuse someone of being a hater. When someone challenges your way of thinking or doing things, try not to take it too personally. However, if there's some truth to it receive it humbly and submit it to God. Often people just need to know that you are listening to them and value what they have to offer.

To clarify, there are definitely those who classify as real haters (people who purposely and maliciously cause division plotting to the hurt and discredit of others). When these individuals malign us the strength of our leadership is tested. However, if we are mature enough we can even discover truth from our cruelest skeptics. In this way, we do not allow our skeptics to hurt us but rather to help us. It takes a strong and humble leader to receive criticism and continue to learn and grow. Jesus told Peter to agree with his adversary quickly (Matthew 5:25). The point being that sometimes when we immediately reject a rebuke without giving it time to process, we may also miss the treasure of truth that lies just beneath the surface of the criticism. God can speak to us even through our enemies and turn what they meant for our harm into our advantage (Genesis 50:20). Even if the criticism is unfair, unreasonable and unwarranted we can still grow. The truth is, patience, love and humility are more deeply learned in the furnace of adversity.

For the most part though, I am specifically speaking to those who are less mature and refuse to listen to Godly wisdom & counsel and adhere to sound instruction (Proverbs 1:7). We cannot always dismiss our critics, even those who may at times seem harsh but in the end actually can help us mature and reap a harvest of spiritual fruit in our lives (Hebrews 12:11). At one time or another all of us need a Brother or Sister Sandpaper around to help smooth off the rough edges of our lives. We must (at every stage of our spiritual growth and ministry) be open to discipleship and accountable to leadership. Not only should we speak the truth in love but we must also be willing to RECEIVE the truth in love. We must remember that our Heavenly Father loves and because He loves us He can chose whomever He wishes to bring necessary and beneficial correction into our lives (Proverbs 3:12). Besides you have more than enough GRACE in your life to take criticism no matter what form it comes and no matter whom it comes from.