Monday, January 19, 2009

Ah snap, hate mail!

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11

If I truly believed that verse, I would respond to hate mail with a thank you note. I would receive criticism that was meant to wound, as a gift. A confirmation that I was doing the right thing and was in fact blessed. But I don’t right now. Most of the time I just get mad. I act surprised that God would allow something like that to happen as I try my best to do the work I feel like He’s laid out for me. Maybe, just maybe, instead of reacting to hate with hate, I need to believe what Jesus said in Matthew and react with thanksgiving.

How would the way you react to persecution be different if you really lived Matthew 5:11?

p.s. please remind me of this post when the book I'm writing comes out.

26 comments:

Mo said...

I tell myself: When what God thinks about becomes more important to you than what man thinks, what others say won't matter.

Mo said...

When what God thinks about me becomes more important to me than what man thinks about me, then what others say won't matter.

The truth is I wish people that hate me would:

(a) put it on paper, right there where I could see it, instead of behind my back, so the only way I confront it is to say, "they said", which "they" beg me not too.

(b) say it to my face. The worst part of haters, is when a teen really wants to join our group, but lowers their head & says, "my parents won't let me b/c they don't like you".

It hurts b/c innocent people are put in a situation b/c I stood up for what is right.

It hurts when doing the right thing is the hard thing to do.

It hurts when people choose to do the wrong thing anyway, even after they are warned, then you see the evidence of their actions.

Anne Jackson said...

I just heard I was "dead to reality or just jealous!"

God bless em

(growl)

Brad M said...

Personally I am still working on my first serious bout of persecution. I hear all about our brothers & sisters who have & in many places STILL are getting hammered. And all I have to worry about is getting to work on time and is my coffee from Starbucks a bit cold.....

katdish said...

Aw, Jon. That really stinks. But to be honest, I would be more concerned for you if all you got was flowery notes of praise and atta-boys, because if you are making people uncomfortable, often that is a good thing. You have people who support your work and will give an honest assessment -- good or bad. I'm not suggesting that you ignore criticism, only to consider the source and possible motivation (if that's even possible).

katdish said...

"were" flowery notes of praise, not "was". Ugh!

Andi (and sometimes Jacob) said...

I still just get mad too. If you figure out how to not get mad, let me know.

Sincerely,

"doesn't involve anyone else in her work"

Ashley said...

Just post the hate mail so we can all comment on how dumb this hate mail writing fool is and how holy we are. You know you want to. hahaha

Adam Seate said...

I have a saying that I pass along to my church leaders - "Christianity, when rightly practiced, will always be met with resistance." I tell them that if they are not receiving criticism or resistance, then maybe they aren't doing something quite right.

Daniel said...

I agree with Andi...let me know if you figure this one out!

My guess is, it starts with that forgiveness thing. I'm guessing that you have to learn to forgive somewhat quickly and readily...like...immediately when it happens.

Heck, I'm still working on forgiving people for stuff from when I was 3 years old! At this rate, I'm never catching up!

Jordan said...

Jon - you suck! That's just a bit of something to encourage you. Ha ha ... no, keep up the fantastic work, man! We all love you! God bless.

Dean Cooper said...

Here is how I keep from getting angry at hate mail . . . I don't read it. Once I realize I have mail from a hater I just delete it. Also, as soon as I realize that I have a stalker-hater (someone that contacts me more than twice) I build rules into my Outlook to just flush their email to the dead zone forever - I never see it.

robyn blaikie collins said...

So, recently I had a conversation that you might find interesting. You will be hated, you will be persecuted, you will be despised... esp. when you do things that others don't understand, even though close to you. Do you know who else was hated, persecuted, and despised among his own people? Yep. Jesus.

I found this comforting, hopefully you will, too. And that I know what to expect...

but yeah, it still hurts - at least you have the blogger love-fest to end all love fests with the razzle-dazzle quoting, skittle-eatin', worship eagle lovin' posse at SCL.

Stacy from Louisville said...

I don't get mad. Usually I get sad then question myself. For me the key has been to live in an attitude of forgiveness. I know that sounds all mystic, but it's not. I've learned from forgiving lots of people - and from being forgiven a lot by others - to expect people to disappoint. That doesn't mean I exepct the worst in people. Instead I expect people to be people and make mistakes. People are going to let us down time and again. The best we can do is make up our minds to let go of stuff before it even happens. For me it has taken the sting out of some recent stuff that would have floored me. All I'm saying is that forgiveness is a lifestyle, not an event. And me being able to authentically share this is all Jesus, not me.

And kudos to katdish's comments too.

Anonymous said...

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Rooted on the Rock said...

The planks in our eyes cause poor eyesight. They magnify the specks of dust in others while at the same time blind us of our own faults. We need to face our own faults first. Isn't it strange how we get upset over the little issues in others yet overlook the big issues in our own lives? It's so easy to sit back and point the finger at what others say and do. Especially when we aren't doing anything ourselves. Grace and peace to you.

dollyd93 said...

Jon,
Generally, I like what you have to say and as we are like-minded in our beliefs, I could never imagine sending you any hate mail. However, I still think it is good to be open-minded to what is in hate mail and really ponder what truths may be embedded in the message.

If it is just someone you have never met, and really could have done no harm to, then make like a duck and let the water roll off your back. If on the other hand, you may have said or done something to warrant such anger, that is when there may be some value to gleen from the tirade.

I will admit that I have been guilty of sending a harsh message or two, but I have always hoped to offer a door for dialogue, understanding, and resolution.

Only an extremely insecure or arrogant person would delete such messages without looking inward for some insight into what may have instigated such a response. This also means that you are liable to experience all kinds of emotion-yes including anger and outrage.

For me, that is where my blog serves me so well. I can air out my feelings and let others add their two cents, as well as, gain perspective for myself. I,too,still get angry-so give yourself a break-We are only human and this is part of the baggage.

Brannon said...

Jimmy Fallon demonstrates how he handles criticism, warranted or otherwise.

heartafire said...

Jon, I emailed you my favorite writing about enemies.

Here's an excerpt:

"One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies,
but cruel friends."

It talks about what a gift enemies are to us, and basically, asks God to multiply our enemies, to draw us to Christ. ...so that we may realize we are strangers and aliens here, and that we are always to turn toward the Source for truth, and identity, and comfort.

Justin said...

Hey,
I'm a new reader, but I love what you're doing.
As a youth pastor, I'm consdtantly faced with frustrating people who do or sya things that hurt, but I'm reminded that that is the very reason I'm doing what I'm doing. God wants me to minister to the sinful people. Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy. If people respond with hate mail, just be glad that God brought them to your site. Perhaps he will use you to lighten their load. Perhaps, that is the very audience God wants you to reach. Those who are humorously broken. Keep striving to be a better follower and minister for Him, and he will continue to guide you and use you.

In His grip,

justin

johngf said...

I'm a youth group leader in my church, and after our youth group had participated in our main church service once, someone told my aunt they didn't like what my co-leader was doing.

I had two first impressions. First, that the person just told my aunt her opinion about my co-leader because she didn't want to diss me to my aunt's face. Second I thought, "cool, we must be doing something right!"

Then I felt bad that I had been proud about causing division.

♥ JaYmE ♥ said...

oh goodness. i'ma copy and paste with post and read it every day. LOL I needed to see that this morning. Thanks. I was two steps from going out to buy voodoo dolls & ducktape for their mouths. bwaaahahahaa.

♥ JaYmE ♥ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

I don't think I've ever gotten hate mail (and don't understand why you would, either) but I do NOT react with joy at being slandered. Persecution of Christians in general sets my blood boiling, including the passive-aggressive type I deal with from my parents. I just don't leap for joy. Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

Transparent J said...

My first hate mail was from an old friend that was now a step-dad to some kids that were close with my children. (say that 3 times fast). I couldn't shake the frustration and sadness regarding the future of my kids relationships.

After deciding that punching him in the face wasn't the right thing to do, (and besides, he wasn't home when I stopped by)... I finally calmed down, talked to some friends and developed some peace. (Having a good support group is awesome!)

I'm developing a thicker skin though, and if it's biblical that we will be challenged in if we are believers, than I have to think I'm doing something RIGHT... Right?

Here's some love mail... ((<-side->Jon<-side->))

Jason

Anonymous said...

Good job at being the salt of the earth! Salt irritates :)