You probably don't have to think very hard to conjure up an image of someone in your life who can be classified as a hater.
Haters are people who cannot be happy for another person's success. In some cases, haters are envious of the person they "hate on." In other cases, "hating" is simply a way for haters to feel bigger by belittling another person. Rather than sharing in the happiness of someone's achievement, they are compelled to knock the individual down by exposing a flaw or perceived defect in that person.
You may think you are above all this. No "haterade" for you, right?
Bringing People Down
Not so fast. Did you follow the tabloids' coverage of the Kardashian divorce? Did you talk with coworkers about whether Kobe cheated? Do you wonder why God gave your neighbor a Land Rover – while you're stuck in foreclosure?
As a matter of fact, if you step back for a moment, you have to realize that you will never know the whole truth about any of those people. You'll never understand their struggles, gifts, pain and purpose.
God has not given us the right to judge others. If you drink the haterade you will find yourself poisoned with gossip, envy and negativity. Remember, to bring people down, you must be below them to begin with.
So, when the talk turns tabloid, ask yourself, "Why am I having this conversation? What is the goal? Does it honor God or edify another person?" If not, listen to the Holy Spirit and walk away!
Proverbs 18:13, 17 teaches, "He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.…The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him."
When we negatively judge what someone else has, we are saying God has unfairly blessed the person. Isn't it something! We think we know better than God how things should be done!
Anytime I find myself second-guessing God's judgment, I know it's time to check my moral compass and find another path.
God has given us all what He thinks we can handle today. We are only accountable for what we do with our own riches.
Have You Counted Your Blessings?
It is also important to note that many of the "blessings" people hate on can actually be a "curse" to those who experience those blessings. Ask the lottery winners who are now broke.
Instead of looking at another person and feeling bitter about what you don't have, examine your heart and appreciate what the Lord has given you: employment, food, family, shelter. Riches come in forms other than dollars and cents. Have you counted your friends, influence, personality traits, skills, intelligence, talents or education?
Maybe you don't have access to more because, at this moment, God can't trust you to be faithful with the little you do have.
Matthew 25:23 says, "To him who multiplied what he was given, His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."
The bottom line is this: it's wrong to hate on other people. Period. Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30-31 that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. We are called to be the message bearers of God's love and grace, not of condemnation, and certainly not relishing in the grief and failure of our brothers and sisters or bemoaning their success.
Whatever you do, don't drink the haterade – it's poison.