I have told some of you I'd share about how to do battle against your haters so here goes my best effort. WARNING: probably will be long and wordy but if you stick with me hopefully it will help.
I love when God gives me the opportunity to chat with a few young pastors' wives about the hardship of ministry and the hard truth that everyone doesn't and won't like you or your family. Maybe for those of us who've been at it for a while, we tend to brush it off easier and chalk it up to hatefulness and we forget the early days when it actually shocked us and caused hurt feelings. My skin is a lot tougher these days, but somehow I've managed to keep my heart tender...at least most days.
Eddie has mentioned before some hate mail we receive from time to time. I say we because we are married so we are one and what is directed against one is directed against both. Again, chalk it up to the hatefulness of the person and the character behind it. But somehow God always brings me back to being willing to offer help to others who struggle to chalk it up and move on. I've heard from you! I'm always willing to share whatever lands in my lap if it will help others. So here's to hoping this helps, even if it's just one of you.
We both know that as you follow Jesus, haters will try to throw you off and those young in ministry learn that fairly quickly.
But it's not just in ministry. We all have haters along the path, whatever our path is. We all deal with them differently. I'd like to tell you that I've always dealt with them in the most Christlike way, but that would be a lie. But I can tell you that when I learned how to really deal with them in Christlike fashion and it worked well for me, I've stuck with that plan.
So just in case others, in ministry or not, need some encouragement and a plan, I thought I'd share mine. It's not rocket science. But I believe it's biblical and I promise you, based on scripture and also experience, it works!!
Haters. We all have them. Those who smile and treat us one way in a crowd and then ignore us or hide behind anonymous letters and emails. What we do or say or how we believe doesn't benefit them, so we become their enemy. Why? Who knows!! But God is good and timely!
It's so interesting to me that if you're in the Word every day, God will prove so timely in where you find yourself when you need it the most. I'm still blown away at how He does that. But I can tell you He does it. His Word teaches us over and over how to treat our haters and those who set themselves up to oppose us. Our part is to be in His Word daily and He will speak through it when we need it most.
So! We know we all have them. We know if we are followers of Jesus we are called to deal with them in Christlikeness, but HOW DO WE DO THAT?! So easy to say, so hard to do!!
Do we give hard, cold stares? Ignore them? Do we gossip about them? Do we go off on them or vent to others about them? Or even better, go off on social media!! Well, we can. And I've tried a few of those. Maybe more than a few. But they don't work. Or they haven't for me. Because none of these holds a candle to the plan I have now. You see, that's their way, the haters' way. We don't want to lower ourselves to them and join them in the pit. I know this sounds all "preacher's wife" but God's way is better and it's worked for me.
If I have a letter or email I put it down where I'm praying, usually my den floor, and put my bible on top of it. If there's no letter, I write their name on a sticky note, which will eventually find it's way to my closet wall, and put my bible on their name.
And then I pray scripture all over them. Have you ever read some of David's psalms? I mean the ones he prayed over his enemies. I mean WOE!! He held nothing back. And you may be better with words than David, but I'm not, so I steal his words. Nothing beats praying God's Word over the heads of your enemies. Turn them over to Jesus. I promise He can do so much more with them than we can.
I always pray first that if I've wronged them, God will point that out so I can repent and be right with Him. I pray for them that they will repent of their ways and turn to Jesus. But then, I just turn them over to Him.
I could give you countless examples. I've seen Him do things that I prayed someone might see as a warning and turn. The problem is we so seldom see God that way, the way being judging our sin, and so we pay no attention to those warnings. And I've seen some devastating results of that ignorance.
2 Chronicles is a great reminder on how we battle and remembering that the battle is the Lord's. 2 Chronicles 20 even gives us a prayer to pray. I've prayed that word for word.
Jehoshaphat's prayer included a few things worth remembering and following...
1)he committed the situation to God knowing He was in control.
2)he sought God's favor.
3)he praised God and trusted His promises.
4)he was completely dependent on God.
He WILL fight for us if we fight His way. We can't act like the devil and expect God to do His thing for us. We have to do it His way.
Anyone remember Elymas? I didn't either until I was reintroduced to him recently in scripture. Check him out in Acts 13 and see what happened to him when he got in the way. Yea, God does not play games. Later in Acts 13 we see women stirring things up...not a good idea!! God always deals and He always makes things right. And then Acts 14 is a great reminder that there will always be those who praise us and those who throw stones and the best thing to do is not give a lot of leverage to either. Be like Jesus. He knew the nature of the crowd. Keep your trust in Him. Do battle His way and He will do battle for you.
Love y'all!! Thanks for sticking with this. I know it's long!!