Haters Gonna Hate
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I’m sure you have read the messages on some Christian Apparel and raised an eyebrow or furrowed your forehead at the implications, the nonsense or some form of confusion. I’ve done the same, many times. But I wasn’t reading Christian Apparel. It wasn’t on a sign nor was it from our design catalog. No, I was reading Proverbs. There are some crazy thing embedded in the Bible and these things will cause you or I to pause and try to interpret what in the world the author could have possible meant to say!
One of my favourites is where the writer of Proverbs writes in Chapter 26:
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.”
Proverbs 26:4-5 NIV
It takes a bit to understand just what he is trying to get at because at first glimpse it seems he has contradicted himself. I like to call these “tilt” moments. Remember the days long ago you may have spent playing or watching someone play pinball. Not a video game… The actual arcade games. As you would slap the paddle activators you would try to bump the table to get the ball out of a dangerous situation. If you hit the table to hard it would “tilt”. The controls would freeze and you would be subject to whatever fate was set in motion at the time.
Tilt. My head goes into Tilt when I read some things. Proverbs 26:4-5 is one of those. Until we study it… Reflect on it and we realize Solomon is telling us simply, do not do life with fools. It is unwise, it creates a no-win scenario and there is no outcome that you will be content with. Therefore the writer urges us, in their own unique way to reconsider and simply do not do it. Answer them and the fool perceives himself as wise. Do not provide them an answer and you’re just like them. Therefore, keep fools at a distance. Sometimes I am speechless at Solomon’s wisdom.
The wisdom of the proverbs is simply unsurpassed. It is there for our protection and for our advancement. When we are struggling they give us direction. Our straight and narrow path needs some borders every once and a while. It needs some definition and the proverbs give us just that. We are so quick to reject it when it is more difficult that the ‘wide road’. But when I consider those that I have seen reject wisdom for an easier life, it doesn’t take long before that life sure doesn’t seem easy from where I’m standing. It seems that the lack of wisdom in their world comes back to haunt them later.
The most significant convictions of mine have come out of some close hurts. I’m sure you have experienced the same. Those who are close to us can have a much more significant effect on us, can’t they. Rejection from someone distant is inconsequential, but rejection from a close friend will hurt for ages. However, if we live in grace, many times that same rejection can expose a weak spot where God can work and refine us. We can become convinced that “no one will be rejected when I’m around, because I’ve felt that and it scared me.” God truly can work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
So why Haters Gonna Hate Proverbs 9:8?
“Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.” (Proverbs 9:8 NIV)
I have sat in the seat of mockers. I have been a mocker. I am guilty. Having been there, I know what it is like to be mocked and be the one mocking. Neither is great, let me assure you. However, I think one of the hardest things is to transition away from being a mocker. There is a moment that I recall when I realized how aggressive my words were and how significant their impact was on those around me. This same revelation was not shared by the friends I had surrounded myself with, so there was a very significant difference between the way that I decided I was going to function and the behaviour going on around me. In my naivety, I reasoned that if I simply rebuked them, they would instantaneously see the error of their ways, turn away from this shameful sin and walk the other way, thanking me profusely in the process.
Things went a rather different way as I am sure you can imagine. I became the outcast, the mocked and the ridiculed. And this is simply because the mocker is not interested in rebuke.
Conversely, many years later I find myself surrounded by men of God, walking in His ways, seeking His face and operating in wisdom beyond their years. Wouldn’t you guess that we have had many confrontations, of which I have been on both ends of the conversation, and there is appreciation for a rebuke delivered in love. My God-fearing friends see it as protection, not ridicule. They interpret it as an act of love, not mockery. And every time that I have found myself on the receiving end, I cannot shake that it is coming from a place of care and concern, not accusation.
There you have it. Haters Gonna Hate, Proverbs 9:8. Be careful, friends, who you chose to align yourself with. It may direct your future in a more substantial way than you can possibly anticipate.