Remembering the words of Jesus while experiencing hatred first hand.
WHAT I’M WEARING:
I live in a co-op apartment, which means my apartment is separated from my neighbors’ with just some concrete. As a result, I often hear the very loud conversations of others next door. People do not typically move from my co-op building so my neighbors have been my neighbors for many years. I faintly remember one family moving next door. Husband and wife and three children. Then three children turned into four, and then five. That’s correct- a family of seven lived beside me. But we were always friendly to each other. Holding each others’ packages, buying baby gifts, etc. Then I moved out for a few years. When I moved back home to NYC, I thought all was well, until I noticed no one responded to my greetings.
I’d see them in the parking lot, elevator, or lobby- I’d say hello how are you. And nobody would respond unless forced to. Few times I concluded perhaps they didn’t hear me. But after several months, I gave up saying hello. Did I offend them in anyway? No- I couldn’t have. We barely speak. Maybe because they’re Jehovah’s Witness and I’m Christian? Nope because it’s been that way from the beginning of time. I asked my parents if they experienced the same, and to my surprise, they speak to my parents. They just don’t speak to me.
This morning as I waited for the elevator, their eldest daughter (around 14 years old) and her friend came to wait for the elevator with me. I didn’t say anything until we entered the elevator- to which I said “How are you?” She replied, “Fine” then turns to her friend and says “I f%^#g hate her.”
Excuse me little girl? Those were my immediate thoughts. Her friend covers her mouth and gestures her to keep quiet.
*Awkward silence for the duration of the elevator ride*
As I walked to my car, completely appalled at what transpired, I couldn’t help feeling a bit hurt. What on God’s earth have I done to offend this entire family- down to these little children. Is the offence so great that the parents shared it with their children? Do I even know their names to offend them? Have I entered their homes before? Did I kill their dog? Utterly confused, I began to pray. Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies- so I prayed. I prayed blessings would come their way. I prayed for them to release hatred from their hearts, and I prayed for reconciliation in our very casual relationship.
After having prayed, I was still a bit emotional. Those who know me know I hate unwarranted “beef.” I try to be at peace with all men, and so to know that people whom I used to be friendly with now hate me, it doesn’t sit well with me. But the Holy Spirit reminded me of Jesus’ story. The same people who cried out ‘Hosanna!” to Jesus were the same people who cried out “Crucify Him!”
Persecution, as minute as it may seem, is part of the Christian lifestyle. We must learn to embrace love and hate; good times and bad times.
Jesus says in John 15:25 They hated me without a reason.
If they can hate Jesus without a cause, who the heck is Christina to be exempt from that same hatred? There will be times in your life where people will just hate you. (Trust me I know especially as a blogger.) Everyone won’t always love you. That is why we have to learn to take praises from people with a grain of salt. Human praise is but for a season. Human beings will enjoy you until enjoying you becomes inconvenient. Should you be involved in a controversy or scandal, the love will die faster than the speed of light.
So in praying for my neighbors that hate me, I also repented for anything I may have done to offend them. Maybe I closed the elevator door on them, cut them off in traffic on the highway? Played worship music too loud? Who knows! But in any event, I’m learning a valuable lesson from this hatred. I’m learning to live (literally in my case) with the good and the bad; and embrace the hate and the love.
Remember if you have a testimony you want to share on my blog anonymously, send it to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless you.