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As a pastor, one thing I find fascinating is the amount of successful people who are surprised at the opposition and enmity they encounter as a result of their success. I find it utterly surprising that anyone can be successful without knowing that success comes with haters. It is a no brainer.
And if you think only bad people have people who hate them, then ask yourself why Jesus had so many haters?
Success is the primary reason for people hating you. People can stand you when you are struggling.
In fact, they will like you. They will be sympathetic towards you. But once success comes, then something in them snaps and they will turn against you because many people who know your background never expect you to exceed that background.
Acts 13:43: says
‘42As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 43When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.’
Notice that the Jews were encouraging Paul and Barnabas and persuading them to continue in God’s grace. They did this because Paul and Barnabas were struggling.
In your life there will be people like that. They will encourage you and even pray for you for show because they believe that you will never amount to much so their prayer for you is just mechanical.
But now, let’s read verse 44-45 of the same chapter, that is Acts 13.
‘44On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.’
Now notice what has happened here. The same people that were encouraging Paul and Barnabas when they were struggling are the same people who were urging them to persevere when the crowds didn’t show up. Those same people turned against them as soon as the crowds came and success along with them.
It is not always true that behind every successful man there is a woman. But it’s always true that behind every successful man are many haters! This will not just happen once or twice. It will be a permanent thing.
Do you know why the Pharisees and the scribes conspired to kill Jesus? It was because of His success.
Do not make the mistake to think they hated Jesus from the beginning. No. As a matter of fact they were throwing parties for Him and celebrating Him.We see this in Luke 7:36:
‘When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.’
The reason the Pharisees turned against Him is because Jesus grew to be successful.
We see this in John 12:19:
‘The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Do you see how you can do nothing? Behold, the world is gone after him.’
Being successful without having haters is like being a human being without casting a shadow. Both are impossible!
The sweetness of any sugar that does not attract ants is in doubt and the success of people that do not have haters is in doubt.
You must understand that when water reaches 213 degrees Fahrenheit, you know it is boiling and when a man attracts haters you know he is successful.
So the more you become successful, the more you need to be careful how you choose your friends and who you surround yourself with.
That is why they say it’s lonely at the top.
Love is a 4-letter word. Action gives it definition. If a friend says they love you, their action is the dictionary that defines their love for you.
I wrote this because of the sheer number of congregants who have to deal with the issue of haters both within their family, friends and from without.
If you have that challenge (if you are successful, you do), what I want you to do is mediate on your life. How do you deal with hate and haters? Do you let it get to you or do you rejoice about it? You may ask why should I rejoice?
Well, read and mediate on Matthew 5:11. Therein lies the answer to that question.
“Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
There are blessings for children of God when they are reviled and I am a living witness.
For four years that I served as a spokesman to former President Jonathan, I was perhaps one of the most insulted men on planet earth. I had to endure being called ‘fake pastor’ even though I served God genuinely. I had to remain silent on many occasions when I was called a looter, even though I never looted and I have never been accused of looting by the authorities.
What I did throughout that period was to prioritise God in my life.
Even close family and friends wanted me to respond to these attacks. I refused. They told me it was an urgent priority and I just shrugged them off.
You see, satan uses what is urgent to distract you from what is important. Haters attacking you may seem urgent. A phone call is urgent. But those things are not important. Prioritising God is important. Praying to Him is important.
Never allow yourself to be woken up to take a phone call. The first person you should talk to when you wake up should be God, never a man. Never men.
I have worked with Presidents and other VIPs and without variation, I keep them waiting if they call when I am talking to God and without variation, God, in turn, has kept me when VIPs tried to destroy me, how much more when lesser men tried it.
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