I found a comfy seat on a bench nearby the football (soccer) pitch. With a book and latte in each hand, I was perfectly content. Before I could crack open the first page or take my first my first sip, I saw him coming at me...
"Ma! Ma!" He'd been crying. I stood up to catch him in an embrace.
"What's wrong? Why aren't you playing football?" I asked my eight year old son.
"Ma, the boy called me 'stupid'! He says I am no good at football!"
It takes a lot for a mama to NOT punt some punk eight year old boy across a football pitch when he calls my kid, 'stupid'. Let's make that clear. The mama bear in me does NOT take to bullying lightly. My first choice of response would be to rip you to shreds if you mess with one of my kids. I'm just saying.
I took a deep breath and gently placed my hands on my son's shoulders. The words I spoke were not my own, but they were truth:
"Silas, there are always going to be people in the world who are going to say mean things. Haters are gonna hate. Don't let what people say stop you with their words."
As he rubbed his tears off his cheeks, he nodded in agreement and then ran back onto the pitch to finish the game.
Haters are gonna hate. That's a fact.
Nehemiah had gathered the people of Israel to rebuild the wall. Everyone was up for it! It says they "strengthened their hands for the good work". It seemed like an awesome start until some"haters" started to speak up.
"BUT WHEN SANBALLAT, TOBIAH, AND GESHEM THE ARAB HEARD OF OUR PLAN, THEY SCOFFED CONTEMPTUOUSLY. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? ARE YOU REBELLING AGAINST THE KING?” THEY ASKED." NEHEMIAH 2:19Don't forget that the king had not only give Nehemiah permission to rebuild the walls but he also provided loads of things to get the job done. Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem were straight up lying! They were trying to sow seeds of doubt and discouragement into the hearts of the Israelites so they would give up.
One thing that is clear to me, is that as God repairs the broken places of my life, there will be "haters" that try to sow doubt and discouragement.
"There are some things that just can't be fixed."
"You made this mess. Now lie in it."
"You say things will change, but they never do. What makes this time different?"
People may have their opinions or oppositions but the greatest "hater" or opposition is the voice inside my head. I can be my own "hater" in the rebuilding project of my heart.
Nehemiah gives an incredible response to these haters. Check this:
“THE GOD OF HEAVEN WILL HELP US SUCCEED. WE, HIS SERVANTS, WILL START REBUILDING THIS WALL. BUT YOU HAVE NO SHARE, LEGAL RIGHT, OR HISTORIC CLAIM IN JERUSALEM.” (NEHEMIAH 2:20)1) "The God of heaven will help us succeed." God is the one who brings success in rebuilding the broken places of my life. Because He has initiated this work, He will successfully complete it.
2) "We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall." I am just a servant in this rebuild of my heart. I cooperate and do the parts that He has asked me to do. I am willing participant.
3) "But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.” No "haters" have a place, claim, or influence in what God is doing in my life.
Haters are gonna hate but God is the One who holds my fate. I don't need to stop or shrink back because of the lies that pop into my head. I don't have to submit to the accusations that doubt brings. I don't have to be intimidated by the what I may think others will say.
I just need to remember that this 'rebuilding' thing is God's thing. His work is always successful.