How to Handle the Haters

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

In today’s social media world, we are witness (and sometimes victim) to lots of hate-speak going around. By virtue of putting ourselves out there online, we’re automatically vulnerable to the hate. By writing books and getting them published, we’re vulnerable to anyone and everyone’s opinion. It’s tempting to think this atmosphere of unabashed criticism is a new thing here in the 21st century, but of course, there’s nothing new under the sun. Marcus Aurelius wrote about the haters more than 1,800 years ago.

What if someone despises me? Let them see to it. But I will see to it that I won’t be found doing or saying anything contemptible. What if someone hates me? Let them see to that. But I will see to it that I am kind and good-natured to all, and prepared to show even the hater where they went wrong. Not in a critical way, or to show off my patience, but genuinely and usefully. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 11.13)

None of us is going to get through life without people misunderstanding us, disliking us, criticizing us… and yes, giving us 1-star book reviews. It’s good to know that we’re not alone, and that this has been the case all throughout history.

Haters gonna hate, or as Proverbs puts it, “Do not rebuke mockers, or they will hate you” (9:8).

Have you had to deal with haters your life?

16 Responses

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  1. ‘Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart” is speculative Christian fiction, built around a ghost story. When it came out an in-law asked, “So, are you going to continue in necromancy?”
    * At the time, I felt that the only appropriate answer consisted of three words, the second of which was ‘off’, and the third, following a comma, referred to the terminal node of the digestive tract. It’s an expression that has served me well, though its use in faculty meetings, when I was teaching, caused me to develop something of a reputation. (One which I of course relished and cultivated. But you knew that.)
    * In retrospect, I might have said that ghost stories are not out-of-place in the Christian milieu; did not the disciples think that Jesus, walking across the storm-tossed lake, was himself a ghost? And did that not speak to a strong tradition that there was a perceptual blurring of the line between life and death? It would have been a better answer, but again, in retrospect, I would have had equal success in explaining the Arian heresy to a hog.
    * Hatred arises from ignorant insecurity, and while we are indeed enjoined to love those who hate us, I figure I can love them while sweetly giving them directions that will lead them off a metaphorical cliff and far from my ken.
    * Life’s too short to suffer fools, gladly or otherwise.

  2. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

  3. “Haters gonna hate.” So true. I’ve dealt with those who have misunderstood my motives or/and my words. I’ve learned someone who really wants to understand will listen to an explanation. Those who just wanna hate, won’t. So I work to deal with the hurt feelings and let them go. Otherwise, I end up angry and bitter. Haters aren’t worth that.

  4. Yes, Rachelle, I have had haters, particularly during my pastoral years. At that time, I was devastated by it, laboring under the false expectation that I had to make everyone like me. That is absurd, and unattainable.
    With time, I have revised my life view, and my view of ministry in particular, to align with the notion that if I am not irritating someone, I am likely not doing my job. It is almost as if I become the target of attack, insult, slander, libel, and I breathe a sigh of relief and mumble, “Good, that’s good. Now, stay the course.”

  5. It is perhaps worth remembering that while we are compelled to love those who hate us, we are not required to give them an audience.

  6. I’ve certainly had to deal with haters in other areas of my life. Romans 12:18 comes to mind: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” When I know someone doesn’t like me, it always hurts at first, it might even take me down for a few days, but then I press on without their love or approval. What choice do I have? We can’t let another’s hate kill us. Though it sure could. As far as writing, I know my novels’ topics will be controversial. But I’m doing what I can to speak with experts in those fields to help me get the information as accurate as possible. People will always hate, but it’s comforting to know you did what you could on the side of love.

  7. “What a spineless thing I must be not to have one enemy!”– LM Montgomery, The Blue Castle

    statements will always rattle people 🙂 so will challenging thoughts

  8. Carol Ashby says:

    I’ve had people who were hostile to me. At least one was because I follow Jesus If we speak the truth, even in love, some will decide they hate us. It’s unpleasant, even painful, but we shouldn’t back off from speaking the truth. I try to keep interacting with love and restraint on my part, and I pray for them.

  9. Jaxon M King says:

    Rejoicing in any kind of persecution is a tough pill to swallow. What a challenge we’ve been given! In writing, it’s a bit of a scary thing to put your work out there for others to evaluate and offer praise or criticism. The first negative review of my novel was very off base, as if mistakenly written about another book, and it took everything in my power to withhold a response. It would be one thing if the reviewer just didn’t care for the book, but the element that was said to be in the book was just not true. What is the saying? “You can please some of the people all of the time. You can please all of the people some of the time. But you can’t please all the people all of the time.” So true!
    Thanks, Rachelle.

  10. Sue Harrison says:

    Thank you, Rachelle. I really needed that post, and the verse in Proverbs. I don’t mind the one star reviews. No one is going to love every book I write, but the one star reviewer who said my books were racially prejudiced and that I used a word that I hadn’t used in any of my books, that one upset me. Your advice is golden.

  11. I have had haters, although not many, but thankfully although it hurt, in my eyes and those who know me well was unfounded. I would be more distressed if I had done something intrinsically evil to deserve it. I believe it is all about our expectations and perceptions. I have learned this from Psalm 119:165, ” Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.” During this time I had been totally misjudged by a woman in our small group and a four woman mom prayer group regarding our respective sons. The other women knew it and saw her behavior and attitude. It was hard but I still remained respectful, but her actions truly broke my heart. The other ladies encouraged me, and felt I was doing the right thing. Eventually though, I told the two woman it was affecting the prayer group as I couldn’t ask for prayer for my son without her harsh response or obvious attitude. The leader said, don’t worry she has decided not to come any more. I prayed for this woman and refused to take on any bitterness. About a year later, I saw her in a coffee shop with friends from the new church she was attending. She was happy to see me and introduced me to her friends. I could tell there was no more of the angry attitude towards me. Behaviour is from the inside out. When she was angry, I knew a lot was due to het own son’s choices, and she expected us to parent the same, and when we didn’t she became angry. Our son has PTSD from trauma and we had to handle him differently. She neither understood PTSD or the trauma that she knew had occurred to him.

    Truth be told, I have had to forgive a lot of people for their treatment regarding our son and his trauma. But as I tell my son, what they say and the way they act is a reflection of what’s inside them honey. It is not who you are.

    Back to the verse, when you expect sinners to sin as the Bible says they will do, you pity them and pray because they are on their way to a Christless eternity. If your brother or sister in the Lord hurts you, which usually is more painful, you pity them because fear or hurt is prompting them to not only sin against you, but against God. I refuse to be a pawn in Satan’s strategies of destruction. I pray and bless my enemy because they are truly in a spot that is worse than whatever I’m suffering at their hands. It has always worked because God helps me through the power of the Holy Spirit. Once again, it does not mean it is easy at all, but I make a choice to honor God and love my fellow man even when It’s not easy.

    Thank you for this post Rachelle.

  12. Turning the other cheek really does work.