Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What To Do with Hate Mail

David Murray offers a helpful post on hate mail entitled "Haters Gonna Hate: How to Deal with 3 Kinds of Hate Mail" at the Gospel Coalition website.

Murray makes a helpful distinction between appropriate criticism and hate mail and also between signed and anonymous hate mail (toss it!). Then he gives wise counsel on what to after you've read it.

I appreciated his questions to think through before responding:

  • Is it true? Is it even slightly true? Try to find a grain of truth in it if you can and acknowledge that in any reply.
  • Is it proportionate? Is the writer blowing a small matter into a huge issue? Is this making a mountain out of a molehill?
  • Is it specific? Is it addressing one issue or is it shooting buckshot at everything?
  • Is it a godly Christian? If it is a mature and faithful Christian, then you will pay much more attention to it than to someone who is not a Christian, or who is an immature or unstable Christian.
  • Is there something else behind the criticism? Could there be stress or trouble at home or at work that's making someone lash out
I am happy to have not received very much hate mail in the last 15 years, but all leaders have to receive some criticism, and some of it can be really painful. Jesus was the perfect leader, and He received more criticism than any!

We also know that a lot of criticism can go on, not in a letter but, behind our backs (gossip), so it's important to keep our Lord's teaching on loving our enemies in the forefront of our minds. Murray concludes:
Pray for your haters, ask God to help you love them, and take every opportunity to do them good. Don't avoid them and don't take sneaky swipes at them from the pulpit. One of the wonders of the gospel is that God can make the worst of enemies the best of friends. View this as a massive opportunity to display the power of the gospel.
And even if the person remains hostile, we still have opportunity to enter into the sufferings of Christ (John 15:18-25) and to demonstrate the love of Christ (1 Peter 2:20-23). Let your haters drive you to the Lover.
Amen. Read the whole thing.