SERIES: Jesus Loves People
MESSAGE: Jesus Loves Haters
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 5:43-46;Luke 9:51-56

One of the worst things to ever hear or say are the words "I hate you." And since Jesus is the One who God sent to show love to the world, how He handled haters is significant. Today we will explore and hopefully apply two important lessons. Hatred can flow in two directions: hatred towards you and hatred from you. Jesus shows us what to do about both. Get ready by turning to two passages: Matthew 5 and Luke 9.


The term hater is a contemporary description of an aggressive personality type. Urban Dictionary defines it as one who cannot be happy for another's success; rather than be happy for others, haters make a point of exposing a person's flaws. Hatred is a serious issue. Paul listed it as one of the works of the flesh (see Galatians 5), and Leviticus 19 commands, "You shall not hate your brother in your heart" (v. 17). The word hate is mentioned in Scripture 183 times, taking on many forms: mockery, yelling, hurtful speech, persecution, avoiding, and shunning. In this message, we considered how to handle two basic forms of hatred: hatred towards you and hatred from you. The first kind will inevitably happen, but the second does not have to. The first is an occupational hazard, and the second is personal hypocrisy.

When hatred is directed at us, we are to respond with love. In Matthew 5:43-46, we read that there are those who will curse us, hate us, spitefully use us, and be enemies to us. Is there anyone like that in your life, even in your own household? Jesus warned that His followers would suffer persecution. He promised that we "will be hated by all for [His] name's sake" (Matthew 10:22). At the Last Supper, He told His disciples, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19). Being hated is one of our occupational hazards as Christians, since we do not share the values of the world. But rather than retaliate, we are to respond with love. Jesus said to "bless those who curse you" (Matthew 5:44). Proverbs 15:1 promises that "a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." We are also to "do good to those who hate [us]" (Matthew 5:44). Often, a strained relationship is relaxed when we send a gift. Proverbs 18:16 says, "A man's gift makes room for him." Never forget that we are to pray for our enemies. It is hard to keep someone on your hit list when you put them on your prayer list. They may not change their attitude toward you, but prayer will change your feelings toward them. Conversely, be warned that if you maintain anger, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness, then the enemy on the inside will become greater than the enemy on the outside. How do you measure up as a Christian if these verses are the standard? Pick a person you would consider an enemy, and figure out how to bless them, do good to them, and pray for them.

Next, we are to represent the God of love. When we love haters, we show what family we belong to—like Father, like son and daughter (see Matthew 5:45). God Himself loves haters: "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Love gives you away by telling people that you are related to God. Jesus said, "By this [love] all will know that you are My disciples" (John 13:35).

However, if hatred does develop in us, we are to follow the instruction of Luke 9:51-56. This is both a humorous and a human story. James and John were two of Jesus' inner circle, yet they were haters of the Samaritan people. Rejecting Christ is sinful, yet it is more shameful and reprehensible to hate people for rejecting Christ. Thus, hateful speech should be met with rebuke (see Leviticus 19:17). These disciples had a good memory of Scripture but a bad motive. They had Scripture in their heads but no love in their hearts. Don't forget that attitude is more important than aptitude. Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it. Perhaps the most significant choice you make every day is your choice of attitude. Which trusted person have you given permission to rebuke your words, check your attitude, and challenge your prejudices?

Furthermore, our prejudice must be surrendered (see Luke 9:56). The prejudice of the disciples blinded them to God's purpose to save the Samaritans rather than destroy them. God is "longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). God's purposes for people always trump our prejudices. Years later, the church sent Peter and John to preach the gospel in Samaria (see Acts 8). Others may hate you, but they won't win unless you hate them back. Are your prejudices standing in the way of God's purposes for someone? If so, pray that God would reveal your prejudices to you, that your eyes would be open to see them, and that your heart would be open to repentance. Repent if necessary, and get in line with God's purposes for His people.

Adapted from Pastor Skip’s teaching

The BIG Idea
Others may hate you, but they won't win unless you hate them back.


  1. Introduction
    1. Is there anything you hate?
    2. Is there someone you hate?
    3. The Bible takes hating very seriously
      1. Hate in its various forms appears 183 times in the Bible
      2. Galatians 5:19-20: a work of the flesh
      3. Leviticus 19:17
      4. Hatred takes many forms in Scripture: mocking, yelling, foul language, persecution, avoiding, shunning
    4. Two forms of hatred
      1. The first one you can't avoid; the second one you can avoid
      2. The first is an occupational hazard of being a believer; the second is all about personal selfishness and hypocrisy
  2. If Hatred Is Directed to You (Matthew 5:43-46)
    1. People who consider you an enemy
      1. One who is antagonistic toward you
      2. Matthew 10:36
    2. Jesus promised persecution: John 15:19
    3. Jesus calls us to love people, and some of those very people we love will hate us
    4. It's an occupational hazard of being a believer to incur hatred from a worldly system
      1. 1 John 3:1, 13
      2. Sometimes it feels like you're an alien walking around this world
    5. Respond with Love
      1. Bless those who curse you
        1. Don't retaliate
        2. Proverbs 15:1
        3. It's our natural inclination whenever we are verbally attacked to attack back
      2. Do good to those who hate you
        1. Try sending them a gift
        2. Proverbs 18:16
        3. "Love your enemies; it'll drive them crazy"
      3. Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you
        1. It is very hard to keep someone on your hit list once you place them on your prayer list
        2. It may not change them, but it will change the way you feel about them
      4. If you don't do this, you'll have an enemy inside of you worse than the enemy outside: anger, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness
      5. The enemy on the outside is nothing compared to the enemy on the inside
    6. Represent the God of Love
      1. When you love a hater, you are showing what family you belong to
      2. Like father, like son
      3. Love gives you away
      4. John 13:35
      5. One of the biggest complaints toward Christians is we don't always live out our faith
  3. If Hatred Is Developed in You (Luke 9:51-56)
    1. One of the more human and humorous stories in the New Testament
    2. Inner circle of apostles: Peter, James, John
    3. Nickname: the Sons of Thunder (see Mark 3:17)
    4. Centuries-old prejudice against the Samaritans by the Jews
      1. 722 BC: Assyrians took over the land and repopulated it
      2. The leftover Jews intermarried with foreign people
      3. Samaritans built a rival temple
    5. Your Words Must Be Rebuked
      1. Revelation 3:19
      2. The disciples' words were destructive to the people God loved
      3. Rejecting Christ is sinful and shameful, but hating people for it is reprehensible
      4. Hateful speech should be met with rebuke
      5. Leviticus 19:17
    6. Your Attitude Must Be Checked
      1. 2 Kings 1
      2. They had a great memory but a bad motive
      3. They had the Scripture in their head but no love in their heart
      4. To Jesus, attitudes are more important than aptitudes
        1. Your attitude is the rudder that controls everything in your life
        2. Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond
    7. Your Prejudice Must Be Surrendered
      1. Their prejudice blinded them from seeing what God's purpose was for the Samaritans
      2. 2 Peter 3:9
      3. God's purpose for people always trumps our prejudice toward people
      4. Prejudice is the seedbed of hatred
      5. When you surrender your prejudices to the purpose of God, you start looking at people differently
      6. Are your prejudices standing in the way of God's purpose for someone else?
      7. Acts 8: John and Peter preached the gospel to the Samaritans
  4. Closing
    1. You will be hated
      1. But don't be a hater
      2. If you are, you'll find a bigger enemy inside of you
    2. Others are going to hate you, but they won't win unless you hate them back

Cross references: Leviticus 19:17; 2 Kings 1; Proverbs 15:1; 18:16; Matthew 5:43-46; 10:36; Mark 3:17; Luke 9:51-56; John 13:35; 15:19; Acts 8; Galatians 5:19-20; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 3:1, 13; Revelation 3:19

Topic: Hatred

Keywords: love, hatred, haters, hate, enemy, persecution, bless, Samaritans, attitude, prejudice, God's purpose

Jesus Loves Haters - Matthew 5:43-46;Luke 9:51-56 |
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