The first time I heard the well-known evangelist say it, was like a light bulb had turned on in my head! I was so thankful because it released me from a level of confusion I had for years. Why do some people dislike, even hate you on sight? I’m not talking about the hate that comes with racism and prejudice. I’m talking about a person who can be the same race, gender, economic status; but just turn up their nose the moment they meet you. They refuse to speak to you, and may even have a smirk on their face every time you enter the room.

That sermon cleared it all up for me. In it she said that automatically, 20% of the world’s population will hate you on sight! I was shocked but happy to know there was an answer to this phenomenon. Don’t get me wrong, my feelings were not being hurt when this happened. It was more like I was puzzled. When I was younger, I would go over in my mind what I might have done to upset the person. But how exactly does one upset a person they do not know?

Answer: people view each other through their life experience filters. It may be, and usually is, that you remind the ‘hater’ of someone they know or knew. And that relationship may not have been a good experience for them. But immaturity causes people not to know how to differentiate and properly process experiences. Or simply put, it could just be jealousy.

So what do you do, how do you handle it? You be the mature one. People are funny. They want to treat you however they would like and expect you to take it. But if you dare push back or decide to take the high road, they get upset. Take the high road anyway. The Bible says to “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14. Make every effort to live in peace with others. Anything less would be uncivilized.

So, what does taking the high road look like? How does one live in peace? Be kind no matter what. Give the person their space. There is no need to chase anyone down. The person may one day come around, seemingly out of the clear blue sky. Or they may not. You may never know why a person dislikes you. But if your mind is clear, and you are doing your best to live in peace, leave the rest to God.

Oh, and make sure you are mature enough to recognize when someone reminds you of a person with whom you may have had a bad experience. Remember they are not that person. If you have a jealousy problem, recognize and face it. Do not allow childishness to be the cornerstone of your life. Instead, allow continual growth and maturity to be your Hallmark. As you head into a new year, make the effort to mature beyond the petty stuff, recognizing that everyone is different. They are not the high school friend of whom you may be reminded. Oh, and hey, peace be still!

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