Devotional 6/7: Bullies
I know a lot about bullies. I have had to contend with them all my life. When I was a kid there were two different kids at one bus-stop who regularly picked on me. In Boy Scouts there were bullies. There was one guy named Forest (I would have called him “Gump” back if it had not been many years before the movie and I was looking to get pushed around more) and another named Ed who seemed to be just drawn to me to pick on me. When I was in college there were bullies too, at a Christian college! A lot of the bullies in college were intellectual bullies though. These days I encounter a lot of intellectual bullies online. I have not encountered a lot of physical bullies in a long while. I have found that martial arts training gives one a lot of self-confidence and when you know you can back up your words in person, bullies have a tendency to run away.
I still have a long way to go regarding forgiving them. However, I have found that praying for them (no matter how odious it is to even think about them) has given me a lot of freedom.
A couple years ago when Kim Davis was being bullied by the government, the media, and by many other people who disagreed with her, I said that I supported her and still do. I still believe that she has a right to her interpretation of what the Bible says and to live it in her profession, a profession that she was elected into by people who share her views. I remember back then that during the whole thing, Facebook was abuzz with opinions. I dared to share my opinion on one of my “friends” page. And I was totally slammed with how I was stupid, I was the evil one, I was the un-loving one, I hated homosexuals and everything like that. I used “I” statements. I was clear that I was willing to agree to disagree. I did not respond to name-calling of myself, my business, or my family or friends with name-calling or accusations, even though there were a lot of names thrown at me. When it became clear that they just wanted to bully me and not allow me to have a contrary opinion, I defriended my friend and went on with my life.
But then, I thought about it. I thought I wanted to “stand-up” to my friend and his cronies. It was not right. It was not the way that adults should talk to each other. I thought that if I was being a bully then I would want someone to tell me directly. So I emailed him back and I told him he was a bully. Well, he did not like that. To prove that he was an adult he again started calling me and my business all sorts of names using plenty of four-lettered words. I sent him a message back saying that he proved that I was right and I hope that someday he can learn to have an adult conversation where people can disagree agreeably. Then I blocked him. I still grit my teeth and get ready to fight when I think of him, years later.
Many of Mr. Obama’s policies were forced on the country. In an article of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the (then) governor of Florida Rick Scott is quoted as saying regarding Obamacare, “This is The Sopranos, they’re using bullying tatics to attack our state!” This comment was supported by the governors of Texas and Kansas and Tennessee. Mr. Obama’s policy has certainly gone from, “change we need” to “change you better accept or I’ll bully you into it.” It seemed my friend mentioned previously was taking a page from Mr. Obama’s playbook.
None of this has stopped even after Americans have clearly voiced their opposition to everything that Obama stood for and the direction that the extreme Left wants to take us: a godless, socialistic/communistic version similar to George Orwell’s 1984. The media has been trying to bully Donald Trump and anyone who stands with him for making America great again. Just watch how SNL portrayed Kellyanne Conway. Madonna and Alec Baldwin and Kathy Griffin and other, “celebrities” continue to threaten him with physical violence. They have been bullying his wife and children too, and I find that extremely disgusting.
There seems to be an epidemic of bullying. Granted we have always been a nation that has used denigration and bullying to get our way. According to Larry Wilmore, we cannot respond like adults, only as Americans (12/8/2015)! One just needs to examine history to see this. But that does not make it right for mature people of faith. And it definitely does not constitute a conversation where the fruits of the spirit are present.
Is this something we can aspire to? Is this something we can be salt and light about? Can we be different than our brother or sister who has to resort to name-calling and reactionary behavior to bully someone into their perspective? Can we act like the Lord’s people in the face of someone else’s belief that believes our belief’s don’t deserve respect? I think that that is a challenge of living in the mid-2010s more than being confronted with someone else’s sexual choices or way of living. Can we love and treat with love someone who disagrees with us? There are plenty of examples of how not to!
Matthew 5:43“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.…