These days we hear so much about bullying, so much that it seems we are majoring on the wrong-doer and maybe we are not teaching our children how to deal with bullying when it happens. I don’t mean to make light of bullying, because certainly I have been on the receiving end of it myself, as a child and as a mother having to comfort my children. And certainly, bullying is not an acceptable way to act and in many cases is punishable.
What we must realize is that in this sinful world, bullying will always be out there. As Christians, we’re given that promise…
“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…. If they persecuted Me they will persecute you… for they do not know the One who sent Me.” John 15:19-21
That promise is a bit harder to claim then the ones we choose to claim, isn’t it?
When the issue would arise, here are a few things I would have my children (our myself) consider …
1. Is there any truth in what the person said?
I’m reminded of an episode of Little House on the Prairie. Laura had been in an altercation with Nelly ‘again’. She was upset that Nelly had called her father a smelly farmer. Charles asked Laura, “Well, it is true, right?” Then he went on to explain that he was smelly because he worked hard and that was something to be proud of.
If there is truth in what was said, then we should correct what can be corrected. Use the situation as a tool to improve ourselves. Let it make you better NOT Bitter. Just as a test is used to show us what we haven’t yet mastered.Yes, criticism is hard to accept, but it can make us a better person if we allow it too.1 Peter 1:6-7 instructs us …
” So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
If there is no truth, Be encouraged! because we know that through our weaknesses , we are strong in Christ.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
—2 Corinthians 12:10
2. If there is no truth in it, there are a few things we should do…
– we must forgive and forget. Think of the times that Jesus was wrongly accused, even on the cross He said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. And later in Acts, we see that Stephen, forgave his persecutors as they stoned him to death. So shouldn’t we do likewise?
– We must respond in love. We need to remember that they probably do not yet know Christ. We need to show them the love and mercy of Christ through how we react to them. Remember, that we are the only Jesus some people will ever see. Responding in love will also, many times, dumbfound your accuser because they will be expecting you to hurl insults back at them. They may not know how to respond to your love and mercy.
Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2
I recall a time in my life when I was first out on my own. I didn’t have laundry equipment and had to take my clothes to a laundromat. I placed my laundry into an empty dryer that still had time left on it. As I was later folding these clothes, a woman came into the laundromat and began accusing me of stealing her clothes from the dryer. I replied that there had been no clothes in the dryer and that she was welcome to go through my stacks of clothing to find anything that might be hers. She continued to accuse and yell, backing me up against the dryers and hitting me in the face. But when I would not retaliate, she finally, gave up and walked out. It turned out that this situation for me became a blessing in disguise. When my church family heard the story, a lady came to me and said, “You will no longer have to go to a laundromat. Bring your dirty clothes to my house every Monday and I will wash them for you.” She not only washed them, but made any repairs needed as well!
– We must also Pray for our Accuser.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you
There is usually a reason someone lashes out at us. They may have a bad situation at home, they may be grieving a loss, they may be jealous of you, they may be under conviction of the Holy Spirit. Look for these things and pray for them. Then look for ways that you can reach out to them as a friend. See if you can find out why they want to lash out. You might be amazed at the results. I’ve heard of “enemies becoming dear friends” because one of them reached out in love.
– We must Be Encouraged… God is with you and God will be glorified!
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4: 8-11
– We must Be Encouraged .. You will be rewarded!
Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11″Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12″Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you
I hope that this will be a help for you as it was for me and my family. May God bless you.