Growing up can be hard. Many children are faced with having to deal with a bully.
Were you picked on as a youngster? What was it? Were you fat, skinny, tall, short, wore glasses, had red hair, poor, rich, wore out of date clothes, had some kind of physical disability, or ethnic heritage?
A bully is someone who wants to be high on the social ladder by pushing others down the social ladder, specifically those who are smaller, weaker, younger or more vulnerable. This can be done with verbal attacks, like name-calling or making fun of others, as well as physical attacks, threats, intimidation, and deliberate exclusion from activities. It peaks at 11-13 years old, but often continues through adulthood.
In his book Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes: “There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully.
Have people have been treating you bad and you don’t know how to react. Should you take revenge or just take it. We hear a lot about bullies today. So, how should we treat bullies?
In Luke 6:27-45 Jesus tell us to do the impossible. He commands His followers to love the unlovely. How should we love the unlovely bully?
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
Jesus tells His followers to do some positive things for to enemies:
- Give (lend)
Maybe a story will help…
A Chinese story is about a girl named Li-Li who got married and went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a very short time, she found she couldn’t live with her mother-in-law at all. Days and weeks passed and she had to do something about it. She went to a local herbiest, Dr. Huang, and told him about the situation and asked if he could give her some poison so she could solve the problem. He came back with a package of herbs with the following instructions. You can’t use a quick-acting poison because people would be suspicious. These herbs will slowly build up poison in her body. In order to make sure nobody suspects you, you must be careful to act very friendly to her. Don’t argue, obey her ever wish, treat her like a queen. Very soon she will be gone. Li-Li left to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law. Weeks and moths went by. But after six months, things had changed. She had practiced controlling her temper so much that she seldom got mad. Her mother-in-law seemed kinder and easier to get along with. Attitudes changed. So Li-Li went back Mr. Huang and asked to revers the effects of the poison. Her mother-in-law had changed into such a nice woman that she love her like her own mother. Mr. Huang smiled and said not to worry. The herbs were actually vitamins. The only poison was in her mind and her attitude to her mother-in-law but all had been washed away by the love she showed to her.
Why be loving to unlovely people?
Because that’s the way God loves – he loves unlovely people. Jesus talks about two kinds of trees. Good and bad. You can tell a tree by its fruit. You can tell a true follower of God by how they treat others, even enemies. They treat them like God does.
Do the good to others that you would like done to you. That’s the Golden Rule.
“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgiven and ye shall be forgiven.” (Luke 6:36-37)
Jesus commanded His followers to not only do some things to their enemies (Luke 6:27-36), He also commanded them to stop doing certain actions. Quit judging, condemning, criticizing, and avenging wrongs. We live in a world that is quick to find fault in others. True love doesn’t judge or criticize others.
Another story might help you understand….
A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments. About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: “Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?” The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
Why should you not judge your enemies? Because you aren’t the judge. Jesus is the ultimate judge and you will receive the same judgment that you give to others. So be merciful. This doesn’t mean that we don’t help others with their faults. But it means we clean our own house before we criticize others’ messy house.
Judge yourself first:
- You know your own sins better.
- It’s hypocritical to care about others sins more than yours.
- You can’t help others with their sins until you have addressed your own.
- God calls you to help others rather than judge them.
What if everybody lived the “Golden Rule” and refused to judge and criticize others. People would do the good for others that they would like to be done for them and would refuse to find fault in the actions and decisions of others.
What are some practical actions to apply this lesson?
- Talk less – listen more.
- Put yourself in their shoes.
- You can’t pray and hate someone at the same time.
John Wooden, former basketball coach at UCLA, was the antithesis of many of today’s coaches. He seldom got angry and almost never yelled at referees, players, or anyone. Yet, he set records that may never be broken in college basketball, including an 88 game winning streak. He was pushed to be critical of former Indiana University coach Bobby Knight, known for his anger and chair throwing tantrums. Wooden would only say, “I think Bob Knight is an outstanding teacher of the game of basketball, but I don’t approve of his methods. But I’m not a judge, and I’m not judging Bob Knight. There is so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the worst of us, it hardly behooves me to talk about the rest of us.”