You will be hated in this world.  Whether it is because of the color of your skin, the type of hair you have, the way you talk, or some other nonsensical reason, you will be hated.  Jesus told the eleven that they would also be hated because they chose to follow Him – you will be hated because of your faith.  So, how do you react or respond when your haters hate on you? 

Dealing With Your Haters

As we have seen in recent weeks, courage is required in order for us to step out in faith.  When we have the courage to move in faith, it has the power to inspire those around us to move in faith with us.  Yet, at the same time, our courage to move in faith may have the opposite effect on others; some will hate on you because you’re always walking by faith.

Dealing with hate according to scripture

When your haters hate on you, do you care?  When someone hates you, do you have the courage to keep moving in faith or do you let their hate get to you?

The popular answer is a response that shows that we are ‘built tough’ and that hate doesn’t get to us.  Years ago we would say that we simply ‘shake the dust off our shoulders’ when it comes to hate; in other words, hate is nothing to us.  However, the harsh truth is that many of us let our haters get to us and we succumb to their hate.

In succumbing to their hate, some of us become paralyzed in fear as we worry about what our haters will say or do to us.  On the opposite side of that thought, some of us stop moving in faith by stooping down to their levels; we act out of hate towards our haters.

With that in mind, I want to ask all of you – which of these two ways do you think is the best way to respond:  sitting down in fear or by answering hate with hate?  Of course you will say that neither is the best way to deal with those that hate on you.  Yet, many of us struggle mightily with the proper choice of dealing with our haters.  So, I want to remind you of what scripture says you should do when it comes to dealing with and overcoming those that hate on you.  

Jesus taught us that we should do good to those that hate us (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27). Jesus said that we should pray for those that spitefully use and persecute us (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:28). To the twelve, Jesus told them that if one took their cloak, they shouldn’t withhold their tunic (Luke 6:29).

As I am sure we have all heard and know, Jesus taught that when one strikes one cheek, we should turn the other cheek rather than return our hands (Luke 6:29).  So, Jesus taught us that as God’s children, we’re not to respond with hate against those that hate us.  This logic is, of course, rather difficult for many of us to practice because all of us have our limits but we must learn to trust God in these matters.

Let us remember what God said to the children of Israel about dealing with those that spitefully used them or did them wrongly. God said to them that vengeance belonged to Him and would repay it (Deut. 32:35). Let us remember that God has made us His children through Christ (John 1:12), and God’s statement of vengeance to Israel stands true for all of us who sincerely believe in Christ today.

You Haters True Anger

With these things in mind, for a good example of how we are to deal with our haters, I want to take a look at how David dealt with one that truly despised him.

Saul’s hate of David

Who was it that despised David? King Saul. Saul’s hatred of David was as real as it gets! Saul’s hatred of David stemmed from the rip in his relationship with the Lord as it soured on the day of his unlawful sacrifice. You see, that was the day where Samuel told Saul that his kingdom would not continue because of his wickedness (1 Sam. 13:13-14).

At first, when Saul met the shepherd boy, he was happy because David slayed Goliath where others were too afraid to face the giant (1 Sam. 17:33-58). However, over time, Saul’s hatred for David began to grow as we are told a “spirit of distress” came upon him (1 Sam. 18:10). This distressing spirit caused Saul to “prophesy”, according to scripture, but we should understand that he wasn’t prophesying on behalf of God – he was speaking crazy.

Saul’s crazy thoughts and speech eventually then turned into crazy actions. Saul’s hatred moved towards evil intent as scripture tells us he took a spear into his hands, threw it towards David with the intent of pinning David to the wall (1 Sam. 18:11); he desired to kill David!

Let me just say that you and I should be well aware and not take likely those who are of a distressing spirit that speak utter nonsense out of hatred.  You see, their speech expresses the evil within which eventually boils over into evil actions which can actually inspire others to join them in wickedness.  

Hated for being favored by God

Now, with that in mind, let’s take a look at what inspired Saul’s hate of David. What was it about David that drove Saul to hate him? What becomes clear in scripture is that Saul hated that David was successful (1 Sam. 18:5-9).

After setting David over the “men of war”, scripture tells us of an occasion where David had returned home after the slaughter of the Philistines (1 Sam. 18:6).  For David, this was a joyful return back home as there was singing and dancing.   Specifically, we are told that the women danced and sang out about how Saul had slain his thousands but David, on the other hand, had slain his ten thousands (1 Sam. 18:7).

Do you know what those cheers did to Saul?  After all, Saul was the king and David was just a soldier but David was the one being praised.  Scripture tells us plainly that Saul was very angry and it displeased him to hear David being praised more than him (1 Sam. 18:8-9)!  Again, Saul hated that David was more successful than he was!

So, why was David more successful than Saul? What was the difference between the two? Their faith. David is one that sought the Lord early as his soul thirsted for the Lord (Ps. 63:1). When Samuel spoke to Saul about the kind of man that God wanted to be king over His people, he told him that the Lord wanted one who was after His heart (1 Sam. 13:14). David was hand selected by God to be king over Israel as he met the criteria in his heart to be God’s king of Israel (1 Sam. 16:1)!

Saul, on the other hand, did not truly have a heart for the Lord which is why he could not enjoy the same success as David. To make matters worse for himself, Saul recognized that God was not with him but was clearly with David. You see, after David managed to dodge Saul’s spear, scripture tells us that Saul was afraid of David because he realized that God was with David (1 Sam. 18:12). Saul hated David because he recognized that David was blessed and highly favored!

Hated for being blessed

So, let us take in Saul’s hatred of David for a moment, and then ask ourselves what this means for all of us, the sincere believers as we are hated by the world.

I want you to understand that your haters will hate on you because they not only see that you move out of faith, but they can also see that you are blessed and highly favored.  Your haters will hate on you because they will realize that just as God was with Joshua, Deborah, and David, He is on your side!  Many will be driven mad at the fact that you are blessed and highly favored by God!

Now, I feel I have to briefly touch on what it means to be blessed and highly favored so that there is no confusion or misunderstanding. So, as you have heard me say before, you don’t have to have a great amount of wealth to be considered blessed and highly favored by God. David, again, is our best example of this as he was anointed by God to be king over Israel when he was merely a shepherd boy (1 Sam. 16:11-13).

When you are blessed by God, this means that the Lord has made you so happy in your heart that you are content in your soul.  When you are filled with God’s contentment in your heart, that happiness will be recognized by all of those around you, including your haters!  

Now, some will rejoice and be inspired at the sight of you being blessed and highly favored.  Others will move as Saul – they will move to tear you down because God has blessed you.  If you have great fortune and are of faith, they will move to bring you down!  If you aren’t of great fortune, your haters will mock you and move to spite you because they see the joy of God emanating from you!  Your haters don’t want you to be happy as ‘misery enjoys company’.

The Behavior to Deal With and Overcome Your Haters

The mere thought of someone moving to tear you down just because you are blessed and highly favored by the Lord might make you feel a certain way.  Yet, again, the question still remains as to how you should go about dealing with and overcoming those that hate on you.  Let’s continue our look at David’s conduct with dealing with Saul.

After the attempt on his life, Saul made David captain over a thousand (1 Sam. 18:13). David could have resented Saul and desired to do to Saul what Saul had tried to do. However, in my key verse for today, we are told that David “behaved wisely in all his ways.” So, what does it mean that David behaved wisely in all his ways?

14 And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. 15 Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him.


David’s wise behavior

In 1 Samuel 24, scripture shows us that a moment actually presented itself to David where he could have moved against Saul but let’s see what David did.

During the days of Saul’s obsession with David, David would flee from Saul to many different places but Saul would not relent in his pursuit to kill David. Scripture often encourages us to remove ourselves from wickedness but wickedness often has a habit of trying to follow us around. Saul’s pursuit led him to the Wilderness of En Gedi where he was with 3,000 chosen men to kill David (1 Sam. 24:1-2).

Scripture tells us that David and his men were staying in the recesses of a cave in the Wilderness of En Gedi but this was not known to Saul (1 Sam. 24:3). David and his men had the opportunity to get the jump on Saul, which David’s men encouraged him to do, but again, David acted wisely (1 Sam. 24:10). Saul even entered the cave, not realizing that David was inside, and David was able to cut off a corner of Saul’s robe without the other even realizing it (1 Sam. 24:4).

Again, David could have returned Saul’s wicked actions of hatred with hatred of his own but he refused to harm him because he saw Saul as God’s anointed. We are told that when Saul had exited the cave and went a short distance away, David exited the cave and called out to Saul. David then showed Saul just how close he had gotten to him and how he could have killed him, but chose not to do so because there was no evil or rebellion in his hands (1 Sam. 24:8-11).

What was in his hands? Do you recognize what the wise behavior of David was composed of? David’s wise behavior was made up of peace and love. The way that you deal with and overcome those that hate on you has been illustrated for you. Just as Paul said, as much as it depends on us, we are to live peaceably with all of those around us (Rom. 12:18).

Move with wise behavior

You see, you handle and overcome those that hate you by behaving wisely. In order to behave wisely, you must be mindful of the Spirit. I want you to understand that behaving wisely does not include sitting down in your faith just because someone despises you. No, you should remember that the Lord has not given to you a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and of love (2 Tim. 1:7)! So, when your haters hate on you, you should keep moving in faith!

Behaving wisely does not stoop down to the level of those that have a distressing spirit and hate on you!  You should understand that God has not given to you, the sincere believer, a distressing spirit!  God has given you an encouraging and motivational spirit that uplifts!  So, let us not move to lower ourselves down to the level of hatred, but rather, as Michelle Obama said, go higher and move out of love!

You and I must always be mindful of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit abides with us!  So, behaving wisely means that you and I should move with humility; we should move with humility even towards those that despise us!

In the book of Proverbs, you will read something that Jesus also taught us about behaving wisely and doing good to those that despise us. Proverbs 25:21-22 tells us that if our enemy is hungry, we should give them bread to eat and if they’re thirsty, we should give them water to drink. You see, when we treat our enemies this way, the proverb tells us that we will heap coals of fire on their heads and God will reward us.

What does this mean?  Well, when you treat those that hate on you with humility and goodness, they will feel embarrassed and have great shame.  Think about it:  how can you hate someone that does good to you?  Of course, some still choose to do so but they look rather foolish whether they feel shame or not.

My encouragement for all of you today is for you to keep moving in faith – behave wisely – when your haters hate on you.  When you behave wisely, you will be able to handle and overcome those that hate on you.  When you behave wisely, you will also please the Lord and scripture shows us that we will be rewarded by God.


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