Love the Hate Away

One of the things I found myself doing was randomly scrolling Facebook. If only I could burn calories with the miles my thumbs have scrolled. I started seeing negative post after negative post and it put me in even more of a funk than I was in already!

Have you ever been offended by something someone posted on social media? Maybe it was about you, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was political or racial or an injustice going on in the world. Maybe it was a little more personal and you understood what Taylor Swift meant when she said, “Haters gonna hate.”

Recently, my husband and I came under scrutiny from a fellow theater-goer for “talking during a show”. Let me give you a little background, I am a theater junkie. I’ve been both an actor and an audience member for over 20 years and there is NOTHING I love more than to leave reality for a couple hours and immerse myself in a show. I am also a known “shusher” and have no problem telling the chatty to exit stage left. So, when someone called my husband out for talking during a performance, I took serious offense. Because not only did she call him out, she called him out on Facebook for the world to see. This is my husband, my partner-in-crime, my ride or die….but let’s get one thing straight, I would’ve had NO problems shushing him if I had been sitting next to him.

I was so offended. Not because she called him out for talking, but because I had considered her a friend and thought she would’ve just sent me a personal message instead of making us a public example. My first instinct was to release the fire-breathing dragon from within and stick up for my man, but what would that really do besides make it worse? If Jesus were on Facebook, I’m pretty sure that’s not what He would do. So, I was left with this question…

How do we deal with online haters in a productive, positive way, while still pointing to Christ?

~Respond with Love~
Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody.

Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Romans 12: 18 (MSG)

Put yourself in their shoes. Everyone has a story and a place they’re coming from and everyone wants to feel accepted. What they said hurt your feelings, but they may not realize it. You can’t just assume that they know they did something wrong and expect them to apologize. Try coming to them from a place of respect in a private setting. Let them know they hurt your feelings and see what they say. When they apologize and try to do their part to make it right, you know this is a person who values your friendship.

If they try to place blame, don’t apologize and have zero remorse, sometimes you have to move to option B and press delete.
Wait, you mean it’s ok to not be friends with everyone?

I always like to give everyone a fair shot. However, if someone is purposefully causing negativity in your life, you’ve told them it hurt your feelings and they continue to do it, that is a person you do not need in your circle of friends. Remember what your mama told you, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Sometimes, the way to show love to your hater is to stay silent…even if that means not being friends.

I love this translation of Romans 12: 18…
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (NIV)

Do you see what that says? As far as it depends on YOU. That means, if you’ve done your part to make amends and they’re still being a hater, it’s ok to walk away.

But Sarah, I work with this person and I have to see them everyday.
You can work with someone and not be besties. Put on your professional face, be an adult and agree to disagree. I worked with a Negative Nancy last year and we seemed to rub each other the wrong way on a daily basis. We finally came to an understanding that it was better for us to stay silent with each other and that made for a much happier workplace. Was it the ideal work environment? No, but you do what you have to do to make it through and you pray that God will change your heart or lead you to a new opportunity.

Here are a couple things I’ve started doing that have really changed the way I see other people. Sometimes, you have to walk a few steps in someone else’s shoes to see where they’re coming from.

#1 – Check out the movie Same Kind Of Different As Me
There’s something about this movie that completely changed the way I look at other people. It’s good stuff!!

#2 – Become a cheerleader for the week! Have you ever noticed how good it feels when someone gives you a truly heartfelt compliment? I want to challenge you this week to go above and beyond and privately message a truly heartfelt compliment to one person each day. If you pray that God will lead you to someone who needs it, I promise that He will bring someone to mind!

#3 – Wanna dive deeper? Download the YouVersion Bible app and check out the study “Unoffendable” by Ryan Leak. I’m doing it too!!


Sarah Heer