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What to Do When Someone Hates You

From time to time, I run into people who pretty much hate me. Once upon a time, they liked me (I think), but something happened, and I got unfriended—dramatically. These encounters are relatively rare, mercifully, but painful nonetheless.


The good news—I honestly don’t feel anger or hate toward these people. And I don’t live in fear of running into these folks at the mall either, but I do feel pain.


Tossing and turning in bed one night, I said out loud, “Jesus, how am I to deal with these people? I’ve forgiven them, but I don’t know what else to do!”


God whispered to my soul, “Be thankful for your enemies.”


Not what I wanted or expected to hear from God. 



You’ve heard it, and I’ve taught it: Be thankful in everything but not necessarily thankful for everything.


Yes, I’m supposed to be thankful in all things regardless of the good, the bad, or the ugly in my life. But I don’t have to be thankful for cancer or for any other horrible thing that’s happened.


Here’s my theology of thankfulness: Be thankful in all circumstances, but that does not mean gratefulness for all circumstances. So, as you might imagine, God and I had a bit of a disagreement. “Father, I can be thankful in my pain despite the sting of a broken relationship, but being thankful for these people, who consider me an enemy, is just stupid!”


The heavens were silent.


“Okay, God, why? Why in Your name do I need to be thankful for these mean people?”


Then it hit me.


I can be thankful for my enemies because of how God is using them to mold and change me into the image of His Son.


  • My enemy provides an opportunity for me to love the unlovely, even as God has loved me.


  • My enemy provides a path for personal blessing. I get blessed by God when I love the haters, and I can rejoice in a reward that will someday be mine in heaven.


  • My enemy provides a profound opportunity for me to practice the golden rule. (To treat others the way I want to be treated.)


  • My enemy provides me with a chance to be more like my Father, who is kind and merciful to the ungrateful and wicked.


By the way, all of the above is found in Luke 6 (you can click on this link and read verses 22-36).


Of course, we are supposed to love everyone, but why should you and I be thankful for those who curse and hate us?


Because our enemies help us to grow, and God uses them to transform us from the inside out.


Frankly, I didn’t see that radically different perspective coming, but I’m glad it did.



22 Blessed are you when people hate you,

when they exclude you and insult you

and reject your name as evil,

because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy,

because great is your reward in heaven.

For that is how their ancestors

treated the prophets.

Luke 6: 22-23

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Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna has published seven books, is an internationally recognized blogger, conference and retreat speaker, as well as an experienced life and leadership coach. Bubna has over forty years of experience working with individuals, teams, and a wide variety of business and non-profit organizations.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Joan Richardson

    I have faith to believe I should give thanks FOR ALL THINGS. Here’s why: The greater the trial, the greater the impossibility of success, the greater the challenge, the greater the victory that comes by faith in Jesus Christ who has overcome the world, death, the grave, hell, and the devil!!!! The same Spirit that raised Christ from the tomb now lives in us to bring life to our mortal bodies by His righteousnes at work in us!
    I don’t come from a life of ease, but from a crucified life, I am able to encourage you in this.

    1. KurtBubna

      Thanks for your insights, Joan.

  2. Patricia Kirk

    Thank you for your insight. Problem is when someone doesn’t like me I think of it as my failure. But we may just be at the opposite ends of the personality scale. People who organize everything don’t like me, and I think, “What difference does it make if I put my knives in a different section of the drawer?
    God made the super organized and He made me. He had different purposes for us. But BOY can it rub you the wrong way.

    1. KurtBubna

      Sad, but true, Patricia. (You put your knives wherever YOU want!) 🙂

  3. Sharon

    I’m not the most popular knife in the drawer
    And I know I seem obnoxious to many when it comes to expressing my love for God’s word.
    I found when I would not get a standing g ovation from peers or others it bothered me alo
    My deduction was … I realized I wanted something from them they weren’t willing to give or not capable of giving. That’s where I was freed up.

    1. KurtBubna

      Hi Sharon, thanks for adding to the conversation. Blessings!

  4. Mary Sayler

    Good word, Kurt! Isn’t it wonderful how God tells us to love (i.e., care for, pray for, etc.) our enemies but doesn’t ask us to like them! Glad we’re e-friends.

    1. KurtBubna

      Yes, love matters (liking is optional)! 🙂
      Thanks, Mary.
      You are LOVED!

  5. Chris Vickers

    Timely post, Kurt. Very good!

    1. KurtBubna

      Thanks, Chris. Hope you guys are doing well. You are loved.

  6. Bruce Bowen

    One thing I have learned to be thankful for, also, is, when I give thanks and forgive them, I eliminate all their power over me. I didn’t realize I had given them that power until i felt the freedom in forgiveness.

    1. KurtBubna

      So true, Bruce! Thank you for adding your insights to the post. Love you, brother.

  7. Julene A Trimborn

    Great and much needed insight on a very real and painful part of life.

    1. KurtBubna

      Thank you for the kind words . . . and praying for you, Julene.

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