“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

– Matthew 5:44-45

“If you’ve got haters, put your twos in the air!” Hollered out hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj during her 4th of July performance in Philadelphia this past Friday.

“I don’t have to put the “peace sign” up, I don’t have any haters.” I responded at the TV and chuckled. Not even an hour later, I found something, well over three years old, directed at me. I would be lying if I said I just let it roll off my back immediately. I was agitated. An effort was made to share something positive—this person made it an opportunity to pick at me.What did I do? How did they deduct something that wasn’t even there? Do I really have a hater?!

I went for the Bible. I needed a reminder. After reading Matthew Chapter 5, I was able to make some factual deductions:

  • This person is miserable by choice
  • This person does not know me, has never made an effort to know me, and will never have the genuine opportunity to get to know me
  • The command to love our enemies and the likes isn’t just for the “enemies” outside our circle—family and friends can fall into this category, and
  • I simply don’t have to let this still my joy…that is my choice in this matter

Even more so? I should never be so naive to believe that I’ve “arrived,” that I’ve made it to some place where I’m free from the negative opinions of others. I was unaware of this incident for over three years. There’s no coincidences in faith! What I know now, is that the peace my faith gives me has allowed the Holy Spirit the space He needs to shield me from such ignorance. It would have only encouraged my ignorance.

I will love my enemies and those who persecute me. And I will not stifle God’s light. I will suppress my ego because I can fully trust in what He will do. Haters need hugs. I’ll let Him do the squeezing.

~ Ashley



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