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Session 23

How to handle the haters

Read: 2 Samuel 16

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” 

Contrary to the childhood rhyme, words do hurt. Justified or not, unkind comments can leave us insecure and ineffective. 

In 2 Samuel 16, David’s son was plotting to overthrow him, so for his own safety, David fled the comfort of his throne. As David and his followers were traveling, Shimei, a member of Saul’s family, met them and showered them with mockery and curses. David’s reaction models a healthy response to unjust ridicule (2 Samuel 16:10-14).

Three Things to Consider When Facing Unfair Criticism 

1. Keep things in perspective (2 Samuel 16:11-12)

In light of the fact that David’s own son was plotting to kill him, the taunts of a pesky stranger paled in comparison. Dwelling on hurtful words gives them more power than they have on their own. 

2. Fight the urge to respond (2 Samuel 16:14

Dealing with verbal abuse or hurtful comments can be exhausting. Lashing out in wounded response is never healthy. When David refused to retaliate, he was able to be refreshed.

3. Understand there may be a purpose to your suffering (2 Samuel 16:9-12)

Instead of fighting back like his friends suggested, David focused on God’s faithfulness. Though God doesn’t cause evil to happen to us, He occasionally allows it because He understands that the testing of our faith strengthens it over time (James 1:3). 

Reflect: 

  • If you're the subject of hateful remarks, is there a reason for them? If you’ve offended the person, can you ask their forgiveness and restore the relationship?
  • If the hurtful words are simply out of spite, what can you take from David’s example and put into practice today? How can you handle the situation in a way that will show God’s presence in your life?

1

It’s OK to allow ourselves to grieve

It’s OK to allow ourselves to grieve

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2

Respecting someone after they hurt you

Respecting someone after they hurt you

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3

When following God, always ask for directions

When following God, always ask for directions

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4

Does God call us to quit?

Does God call us to quit?

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5

Has your anger gone too far?

Has your anger gone too far?

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6

What “they” say doesn’t matter

What “they” say doesn’t matter

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7

Why waiting is worth it

Why waiting is worth it

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8

Why should I ask God what to do?

Why should I ask God what to do?

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9

Sing like no one is listening

Sing like no one is listening

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10

God always has a better plan

God always has a better plan

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11

Why would God choose me?

Why would God choose me?

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12

What is the secret to success?

What is the secret to success?

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13

Come out of the shadows

Come out of the shadows

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14

A life of harmony or hostility

A life of harmony or hostility

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15

What popcorn can teach you about sin

What popcorn can teach you about sin

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16

Did you hear what she did last night?!

Did you hear what she did last night?!

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17

Is God fair?

Is God fair?

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18

The difference between love and lust

The difference between love and lust

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19

Why would I reconcile with God?

Why would I reconcile with God?

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20

Is the work of discipline worth it?

Is the work of discipline worth it?

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21

How do you know who to trust?

How do you know who to trust?

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22

Choose your battles wisely

Choose your battles wisely

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23

How to handle the haters

How to handle the haters

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24

Pride: a fatal flaw

Pride: a fatal flaw

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25

Do you act before you think?

Do you act before you think?

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26

Getting over the grip of grief

Getting over the grip of grief

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27

Do for others what Jesus has done for you

Do for others what Jesus has done for you

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28

Your words can ease the tension

Your words can ease the tension

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29

Is God your last resort?

Is God your last resort?

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30

How do you feel about God?

How do you feel about God?

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31

How to praise God in all circumstances

How to praise God in all circumstances

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32

Waiting for a leader worth following?

Waiting for a leader worth following?

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33

What you need to lead others well

What you need to lead others well

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34

How to fight with God’s strength

How to fight with God’s strength

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35

God’s character revealed

God’s character revealed

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