When we think of the word bully many negative things come to our mind. Most often we think of the person who pushed us around mentally and even physically in high school. It may be the tormenter that spread lies about us and caused others to alienate you or call you names. As adults bullies are a bit more subtle but even more dangerous. They are the boss who pushes us around, the co-worker stopping at nothing to get ahead or the group of gossips that misuses company time to push their agenda or their low self-esteems out of the gutter. This can happen in both a Christian and non-Christian environment as I have observed working in both settings. Sometimes I almost cringe when I find out that I am working with a Christian because those that brag the loudest are often the farthest away from the word Christian. Dictionary.com defines a bully as a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. The dictionary website, One Look.com further defines a bully as a cruel and brutal fellow that is bossy, frighten with threats or an intimating domineering manner.
I also believe that bullies can be our own mistakes. Sometimes we can be a bully to our selves with negative thoughts, feelings, actions and be a magnet to draw others to criticize and emotionally batter us. A defeating attitude can also lead to a personal and professional failure by our lack of low-self esteem, worry, laziness, loss of focus and careless mistakes. Bullies may also be life’s events we can’t control such as or chronic disease or a nagging injury from years past. Not all thorns are caused by sin and Paul tells us in I Corinthians 7:7-10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and in difficulties. For when I am weak, then He is strong
What else does the Bible say about bullies? The Bible clearly states in the Old Testament bullies that tormented the Israelites. And if the Israelites wholehearted followed the Lord they were delivered from the enemy. Exodus 23:22-24 states if you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land, and I will wipe ( the enemies) Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces.
Many instances in the New Testament included Peter being delivered from a from a bully jail cell of death by an angel in the middle of the night. Acts 12:7-127Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists… "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating." Bullies are timeless and full of our history and culture.
They say on the average 10% of all people will like not you. But what if God is teaching you about bulling and more than 10% of the people in your workplace, extended family, or neighborhood hate you. I believe he is delivering you from trusting people, your health and security but to put your trust in him. Last year I was in a extremely stressful job situation. Eighty percent of the people hated me. I dreaded going to work everyday and my health including my physical body, emotional and mental health and blood pressure were affected. This affected my work performance and my mental attitude. Just one week after being delivered from the bad job situation I could finally remember not being sick to my stomach after eight months of a living hell. I could not for a long time remember how it felt not be feel sick all the time.
This year it seems like most everyone likes me at my new position. The few who don’t are high strung and just need to chill out because they cause drama everywhere they go. My attitude has changed, my work performance has skyrocketed and I love to go to work everyday. But not a day goes by that I remember that past and thank God for his wonderful blessings.
After asking the Lord to help me in bully situations I have come to the following conclusions. Emotions are real and it is normal and alright to express our frustrations and fears. But how we do it in the midst of the situation should be done often in private and with lots of communication with God. Feelings and emotions are the result of a natural reaction and need to be released. How we do this needs to be with God’s help.
Prayer is important in our dealing with bullies. We should pray x5.
- Pray about the situation.
- Pray for the person or persons who have wronged continue to plague us daily.
- Pray for wisdom in knowing what to say and what not to say.
- Pray what to do in the situation. ( Remember that what and about are totally two different things.)
- Pray how we can learn from the situation no matter how painful it can be.
Sometimes God delivers us in unusual ways. Sometimes bullies are brought into our lives to teach us lessons. I have learned so much from my bullies. Their words, their lies, attitudes and actions have made me a stronger person and I am learning how to deal with great adversity and how to treat other people above and below me. Recently one of my old work bullies showed up at church. It took everything for me to say hi and be nice. I did and I could just see the heaping coals go right on her head. Then later I was asked at a part time job interview if I ever worked with her. I forgot her name and said I did not know her. The pain was gone and God had delivered me from her evil grip on my life.
Ephesians 5:6 say Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. I would rather have man’s wrath towards me instead of God’s. God will not be mocked and I promised that he will not give more that we can handle despite the fact that often we may feel we are over our head sometimes. He will make a way.
One Look Dictionary