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Through "The Basics with Beth," Beth Jones is teaching the basics of God's Word to help you live a life you love and love the life you live! 

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What To Do About The Haters

Beth Jones

"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies…"Matthew 5:43, The Message

We live in a culture where “the love of many has grown cold….” (Matthew 24:12, NKJV) It’s evident in the political arena, competitive sports, among families, in business ethics and sadly – in some cases – even in church life. So – how should we, as Christians, handle it?

Let’s look at a chunk of text from Matthew 5:43-48 in The Message Bible:

"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."

Yikes - this passage is so challenging! Jesus always tells us to do the exact opposite of conventional wisdom. He said the way to treat haters is with love! Have you done that lately? Been gracious towards someone who hurt you? Been generous to someone who has turned on you? Have you prayed for your enemies lately? 

Remember, we don’t have to “like” everyone we “love.” When it comes to some “haters,” the Lord protects us by letting us know that we need to distance ourselves from them. (See 2 Timothy 3:1-5) But, we can still love them by praying for God’s very best for their lives. This doesn’t mean that we have to become best friends and hang out. Yet, we are to love them, pray for them and want God’s generous mercy, grace and favor to be theirs! 

If you’re dealing with difficult people or tough relationships, now you know what we’re called to do. Let’s love, pray and be generous by the power of the Holy Spirit working within us! 

Say This: “Father, today I choose to love, be generous towards and pray for every person (by name) who has something against me, who has hurt me or who might be critical of me. Today, I pray You bless them and reveal more of Your goodness to them. I pray You encourage them, strengthen them and bless them with every bit of revelation they need to live the life You have called them to live – blessed and favored. Father, I also thank You for protecting me and allowing me to love some people from afar with my prayers. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”