What to Do With the Hecklers and Haters

So, this was trending the other day.

If you’re attempting anything of kingdom significance, there will be hecklers and haters. Expect it. It’s part of living in a broken world.

Of course, our greatest and only true adversary is Satan, who “accuses” us (Revelation 12:10), “schemes” against us (Ephesians 6:11) “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), and comes to “steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

But sometimes people try to pull us down, too…

Some do so unintentionally: Unsafe and unhealthy individuals aren’t usually the first to identify themselves as such. Hurting people hurt people…often without realizing it.

Some do so intentionally: Out of their own jealousy, judgemental attitude, bitterness, anger, fear, pride, etc.

Many do both.

So, what to do with the hecklers and haters in your life?

Scripture gives us some pretty clear advice on how to handle Satan, including putting on the full armor of God, being alert and of sober mind, knowing and using God’s word against the Devil’s lies, etc.

But people can be a bit more tricky. After all, we aren’t called to love Satan, but we are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean just letting people walk all over us. That approach simply enables their dysfunctional behavior (which is unloving toward them) and ends us hurting us too. Without healthy boundaries, no one wins.

I do believe that there is a time and a place to pull a McIlroy and eject the hecklers and haters from our lives… but it’s best to do so cautiously and deliberately.

First, we should check our motives. What’s going on in our hearts?Then, it’s wise to examine the situation and confirm that the person/people really are unsafe, unhealthy, etc. We may need outside counsel for this. In addition, we should always be open to reconciliation, and desire God’s best for everyone. Jesus gives us a helpful framework for dealing with fellow believers who have sinned against us in Matthew 18.

So lets say you’ve gone  through all these steps and things still aren’t improving. In that case, it may be time for you to step away or it may be time to request that they step away.

This can be tricky, confrontational, scary, messy, etc. In fact, it usually is.

But consider the alternative: you live the rest of your life with close, constant, and unnecessary negativity and dysfunction. That’s like attaching a prison ball to your leg and trying to run a marathon. Good luck with that.

How have you handled the hecklers and haters in your life? Did anything in this post challenge you to think differently about the challenges you’re facing?

I will say that after pulling the plug, it’s absolutely vital for you to be praying for the people who have hurt or abused you – both for your sake and for theirs.

There is nothing healthy about holding onto bitterness, unforgiveness, or anger towards others. When we’re tempted to do so, praying for our enemies can help us have God’s heart for them. Plus, God can use our prayers to change them and bring about good.

There’s so much more that could be said about all this, but for the sake of time, I’m going to stop there for now. Feel free to chime in.

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