This is one of those posts that goes to the edge, but I believe it’s crucial to consider. Next I want to start with a confession. Full disclosure, I’ve not seen the new Pure Flix movie, God’s Not Dead 2. What I did see was the clip from a national comedy show’s parody of the film. Oddly enough I found the clip because it was referenced on a Facebook group of Christian Filmmakers who pretty much also seem to hate the original film. They stated that they were just waiting to see the Christians come out and call this parody “persecution.” So let’s start there, this clip is not persecution. It’s a constitutionally protected parody, basically the same thing that allows Weird Al Yankovic to turn Beat It into Eat It without fear of litigation. A parody is a humorous working of an existing work.
You could say the parody (which I will not share here) is an attempt at humor. I’ve decided to call it what it would be called if it were directed at any other people group aside from evangelical Christians… hate. You can feel the hatred in this piece and it’s nothing new. Christians in the media are usually either portrayed as villains or buffoons. This parody piece shows pretty clearly how the writers feel about Christians. It’s not persecution but I would say it’s pretty blasphemous. Does that mean we should protest? No, we should pray. If they hate us, (and they may not but that’s how it feels), well, Jesus was pretty clear on that. We should love them and pray for them.
But this post is not about that TV show. If your work reaches the level where a national who with a large audience will parody it, consider yourself blessed because it means you’re on the radar. Instead I want to talk about what to do when people hate you or your work. Look at these words of Jesus from John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
I really want to key in on that last verse. The key is to be hated without reason. Here’s what that means. If they hate your work because you didn’t give it your best, that’s on you. If they hate you for being a jerk, that’s on you. If they hate you for being self-righteous, that’s also on you. But if you have given your best, and you have spoken the truth in love, you need to keep in mind, Jesus faced the same thing.
So what do you do with all this? Create your best, most God-honoring, truth-in-love-speaking work and release it to the world. If you’ve done that and people still hate it, you’re in good company, so keep going. You’ll reach the ones who you’ll reach. Aside from that…
Haters gonna hate.