Everybody’s not a hater, sis: How to receive correction

 Article By Valerie Wilson // Spiritual Life

Article By Valerie Wilson // Spiritual Life

I snapped on my friend when she told me I was wrong.

“Can I be honest?” she asked me before I chopped her head off with my sharp tongue. And even though I responded, “Yes, please be honest,” I wasn’t in the mood to drink down any truth serum.

“The way you talk to people is condescending and really nasty a lot of times,” she said. “I know you’re popular and have a lot of friends and acquaintances, but you say some really harsh, callous things to people and you need to check that.”

Check that?

Who was she talking to?

The rest of what she said sounded like blah, blah, blah. I was just seeing red by the time she was finished. My armpits started sweating, which meant I was angry—really angry. How dare she imply that I didn’t know how to communicate and that I needed to adjust my methods!

I was determined to let her have it, so I shot back, “It sounds like you’re a hater and you’re just jealous because I’m more popular than you.”

I could tell those words pierced her heart when they left my lips. She winced and then her eyes got big.

“Me? A hater?” she said. “Come on, Val. You know me. I love you and I’m only telling you the truth.”

I dismissed her, convinced myself that she was just hating on me for being #SquadGoals and cut her off. Years later, after I finally got around to admitting wrong and asking for forgiveness, and asking her to be friends again, she forgave me. However, she passed on the opportunity to rekindle the relationship beyond the hi-and-bye level.

It was my loss.

And I don’t blame her for putting up boundaries. I had hurt her deeply by avoiding all her calls, text messages, emails, and rebuffing her tireless efforts to get in touch for months.

She was actually right when she told me about myself all that time ago. Sad to say I was too prideful and stuck on myself to benefit from that wisdom. These days, since I have evolved and matured in my faith walk, I find myself wincing when I hear people label others a “hater” too quickly.

Don’t label everybody a hater.

“Stop hating” has become such a popular phrase. People often say this indiscriminately when they receive criticism from an opposing party, even if that person is right. Unfortunately, lots of folks that have trouble receiving correction like I did tend to label anyone that doesn’t agree with or endorse their perspective, or their choices, a hater.

But everybody’s not a hater, sis.

Sometimes individuals that truly care and can help guide you down the right path will offer advice. The pill may be a bitter one to swallow, but if you take it, you’ll better your life and circumstances. It takes humility, however, to receive correction.

Before I go on, though, I must add a caveat here.

There are some haters. I’m not saying they don’t exist.

What is a hater?

Here’s a description of haters: they are spiteful, insecure, intimidated, vindictive, jealous, mean-spirited individuals that don’t want to see you thrive. So they will tear you down with their words and deeds. In their eyes, your success means their failure. They think your gain is their loss.

Joseph’s brothers were haters (Genesis 37). King Herod was a hater (Matthew 2). Demetrius the silversmith was a hater (Acts 19). King Saul was a hater (1 Samuel 19). Haman was a hater (Esther 5).

Haters will not only insult you, call you names, gossip about you and accuse you of being what you’re not. They will also take action to thwart your progress. They will do whatever they can to cause you to fail. They want to make you feel bad about yourself because they have such a low opinion of themselves.

Now that we have the definition of a hater established, along with a few biblical examples, we can better identify who they are and are not. And if you want to be absolutely sure, consult God. As long as you stay close to Him and seek His wisdom, He will sharpen your discernment. He will assist you in seeing through thinly veiled hatred disguised as helpfulness.

Help is not hate.

More often than not, when a loved one, friend, colleague, trusted confidante and sometimes, a complete stranger, challenges you to reexamine your thoughts and actions, they are not doing that to hurt you. Help is not hate, even though it feels painful. Hebrews 12:11 NIV says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Helpers shouldn’t be branded haters. Otherwise, Satan will deceive you into believing you are always right. And if you assume you don’t need improvement, you can’t be a lifelong learner, which is necessary for being a lifelong leader.

The best teachers are teachable.

Proverbs 15:32 ESV says, “Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.”

If you shut out everyone with a different opinion or opposite viewpoint, you won’t advance. You won’t learn. You won’t grow. You won't be able to teach anyone anything because you aren't teachable enough to learn anything new. You won’t mature. You’ll be stuck, surrounded by flatterers that only praise your every move. You’ll be immature, ineffective and full of pride.

If you want to reap all God has for you, then condition your heart and mind to receive correction, even when it hurts. Trust me, you’ll be better for it.