I had fully intended for quite some time to write an article on how to deal with haters while pursuing your dream. Although I had assumed my race was totally different from yours and that I myself had reached a magical place of fulfillment in which no negative comments could harm me, and out of that I would teach others how to do the same. And then out of the blue, only hours before this very moment, hurling through the throngs of cyberspace- THWACK- came the backhand of stranger which landed squarely, and painfully, on my cheek.
I sat there stunned for a moment. You see, I have learned to deal with negative feedback. I have learned how to distinguish constructive criticism from contrived sarcasm. I have defended my opinions, my stands, and my beliefs for years. I have stood up for myself many times. Because I believe that although I am a Christian, I am not a doormat.
However, this attack was different. It was an unexpected hurdle that somehow knocked me to the ground and stung me to the core because this comment was personal. This comment attacked who I was- the girl my very own mother and father had raised. It was a cheap slice at my character from someone who didn’t even know my face, much less my heart. The pain turned into anger. How dare they? They don’t know me at all! They’ve never met me or had a conversation with me. They have no absolutely no right to judge my motives, my intentions, and my very identity. They didn’t have a right. And it was at that very moment that I knew exactly what to do….
I deleted it.
No muss, no fuss, no sassy retort, not even a gracefully worded apology for their clear misunderstanding. No. It wasn’t worth it. Silence was the answer that they would receive from me.
I think silence is very underrated. I know it is for me. If I have a way with anything in my life, it’s words. I have been sassy since the day I was born, and I surely do know how to put someone in their place when it’s called for. Words can be very powerful, but so is silence. It’s a powerful secret weapon in the face of a hateful attack.
Think of how powerful the silence of our Savior was.
And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. (Matthew 26:62-63a)
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)
Jesus was brought before the high priest and many false witnesses. He was unjustly beaten, and mocked, and crucified, but he remained silent. Why didn’t he speak up for himself? Why didn’t he tell everyone there the whole story, the truth of why he had come, and why didn’t he just prove to them who he was? Why?
We know the answer. There was a bigger cause: the redemption of the world.
When you or I take a stand for Christ, we are going to look like Jesus. No, not one of us is perfect or claims perfection, but when we are called to follow in his footsteps, we are also called to speak his words. We are called to be not only his feet, but his hands also. And the more you and I do this, the more we look like Jesus, and the more we are going to be hated as he was.
The good news is that there is a bigger cause, and it is the same cause that Jesus came to finish. The redemption of the world is the cause. The cross of Christ is the banner. Satan is still the only enemy. The race has already been won, and it is Jesus who has run before us.
Jesus has never lost. Even in death, he gained the victory and so did we. Victory over sin and Satan, victory to live the Christian life, victory to open our mouths and proclaim the gospel, and victory to stand silent in the face of a painful attack. All we have to do is trust in Him. And if we stay faithful to the cause- hurdling the haters and keeping our eyes on the prize- we will cross the finish line as champions.
Yes, there are people who will try to trip you up. However, there are so many people cheering you on- Godly mentors in your life, good friends and family, and the entire team at She Has Worth. Even Jesus is rooting for you along with the saints in heaven who have gone before. Talk about motivation…. Ryan Gosling who?? Let’s run our race as if Jesus is waiting at the finish line for us.
I want to encourage you in whatever kind of negativity or opposition you are facing today, keep your eyes on the prize. Rise above the obstacles Satan may put in your way. Stay faithful to the cause. Remember our Savior’s silence in the face of hateful, false accusations and persecution. Hurdle those haters. And above all, even when it’s hard, run the race like a champion… because you have already won.