Bullying has been in the news a lot lately. Whether its apparent epidemic proportion in our day is simply an issue of modern instant digital and pervasive media is a matter of conjecture. One can argue that bullying raised its ugly head in the very beginning soon after the fall of man into the ugliness of sin; the end result of Cain’s bullying of his younger brother Abel was murder; too often the ultimate outcome of this evil when persistently pursued; if not physical murder, psychological murder. Bullying is the persecution of a fellow human being (or beings) primarily to gratify the desires of the bully no matter the reasons for or how complex his or her psychological abnormality may be. Sin is always the ultimate reason!
When you study the life of Jesus, the Son of God, you see a life increasingly beset by persecution at the hands of bullies. They pursued and hounded Him unto death. You can say He was the chief of the bullied. Often we will restrict the term “bullying to the interaction of children and teenagers, and not to the altercations that take place with “more sophisticated adults. Yet the unjust persecution of another at any age has the same characteristics as the evil actions of a bully. Ultimately as the anger and bloodthirstiness of the bully remains unabated it leads to murder. He or she simply wants to see the person or persons they are bullying destroyed; note the language in the current political discourse in public and in the blogs.
There are times and circumstances when a child or a person being bullied cannot escape. It persists for months, even years. And when one bully goes away, another (or others) appears. Indeed, being bullied or persecuted is what is promised to the person who takes seriously the claims of Christ and strives to be obedient in his own words, and actions to His commands and example. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets before you. (Matthew 5:10-11)
There is little doubt that such bullying is going on at every level in our modern day, on the playground, in school, in the political arena, in all areas of life in this culture. Parents ought to begin from the time their children are toddlers teaching them about the fallen world in which they are growing up; that they will encounter many a bully in their lifetime, and that they do not want to be a bully themselves. All too often we do not instruct our children in the knowledge of the evil world around them and how one whose Lord is Jesus Christ can and should live in a world of sin and sinners. The first time they are bullied even in their interaction with brothers or sisters is a great opportunity to teach them about the Savior who encountered bullying His entire life. We do not know about His years from 2-12 or 12 to near 30, but you can be sure that a righteous child and man invited and encountered bullying at every age, and all the way to Calvary’s cross.
The route of true blessing and happiness is to respond to bullying righteously and refrain from the evil of perpetrating it on others. When bullied the righteous response is not vengeance. A bullied child ought to be protected as much as possible by his or her parents and the relevant authorities, but also instructed in the knowledge and example of their Savior. Jesus gives us the glorious promise that our fellowship and bond with Him is cemented in the crucible of persecution, not unlike His. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:44) It is never ever an easy task, but the reward at the end of the journey is worth every painful inch of it.
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