Haters Gonna Hate, So How Do You Handle Them?

(Today’s post by Chris Queen)

Nehemiah 6

haters-gonna-hateAs Nehemiah and the Israelites worked on the wall around Jerusalem, they encountered resistance from Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab. These three guys tried to sabotage the work on the wall at every turn. In chapter 6, we see them trolling Nehemiah, trying yet again to start trouble even as the wall reached completion.

1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates— 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.”

But they were scheming to harm me;  3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.

5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter 6 in which was written:

“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king 7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”

8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”

9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”

But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

When all was said and done, construction on the wall was complete, and everyone knew who got the credit.

15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.

16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.

Yet, somehow, Tobiah and the others wouldn’t give up, and they kept picking at Nehemiah over and over.

There’s a lesson here in how to handle resistance. We will all have to deal with the haters at one point or another in our lives, just like Nehemiah did. But how do you handle them? Do you engage them? Do you stoop to their level? Or do you handle them like Nehemiah and keep pressing on, praying and counting on God to take care of you?

Let’s face it: the haters are going to hate, like it or not. But how we handle them can change the outcome tremendously.

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