Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bullies Grow Up To Be .... Bullies

It's not hard to figure out what causes a bully to tick. It has nothing to do with strength or meanness and has everything to do with insecurities. In my neighbourhood it was always a matter of bully or be bullied. Bullies pick on other kids, their faults, their oddities, their differences in order to keep people from noticing their own.  The mentality is "if I can keep everyone looking at that kid over there no one will notice me". I wish I could say that such a mentality changes as people mature. The problem with that wishful thought is not everyone matures and insecurities continue throughout life. Have you noticed any bullies in the Church? For sure they are not taking people out to beat them up in the parking lot but they are there nonetheless and have been there since the beginning of the Church:

Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. (James 4:11)

Most bullies are cowards and the most cowardly act is slander. It is the starting and spreading of unfounded rumours that put a brother or sister in a bad light. For what ever reason, insecurities, jealousies, maybe even envy, people attack one another with words. Sometimes it can even come in the disguise of concern as we spread such concern around to people who have nothing to do with the situation and who have no influence to help out. It is really nasty and ugly stuff and any of us can take part in it at any time. It only requires, a mouth, an imagination and willing ears to hear. It is amazing how many ears are willing to hear.

Sadly bullying can also take place from the relative safety of the pulpit. Some of the most insecure people in the Church are the pastors and sometimes they misuse their authority to compensate for such insecurities. Many Sunday's a congregation can feel beat up by the preacher instead of inspired by the Word. This is different from correction, which is the pastors responsibility but keep in mind the Spirit does not use bullying tactics to correct us.

We need to be very cautious in this matter because we may be thinking that we are simply lifting ourselves up while tearing someone else down, which is terrible in itself, but what we are actually doing is condemning ourselves:

Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12)

Jesus made it very clear what the consequences will be for living such a life:

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:37-38)

Remember the saying, "What goes around comes around"? I bet you did not know it came from the Word of God. It is a spiritual principle: whatever we dish out is what we will get back. Love people and you will be loved back. If you are generous then you will encounter generousity. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Judge others and you will be judged in the same way. There are a whole bunch of believers out there who should be paying attention to this. It certainly should change some behaviours.

This is the Word Of God, so considering this truth, how do you think the Father looks upon the bully? Now we could sit here and point fingers at all the bullies or we could look in the mirror and see if we also fall into this category. We need to be concerned about our own hearts toward God and our actions toward others. We really need to bring an end to these insecurities in the Church. Jesus died for all of us. The Father loves everyone in the world. We live and die according to our decisions. Let us decide in this that we honour our God by honouring one another. No more slander. Grace, grace, God's grace!

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