Christianity is a Safe Harbor for Bullies
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
I was thinking today about the subject of bullies, becauseI have a five year old. Bullies have existed throughout time and have found a safe harbor in churches! So what should our response be? How do we handle it? Find out today!
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
13 But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
-Psalm 55:12–13 (NKJV)
Today we are going to only scratch the surface of our topic. We will be looking at certain events in David’s life to see what we can glean and apply to ours.
David was a man after God’s own heart. When David faced Goliath on the battlefield (found in 1 Samuel 17) he was calm and collected, ready to face the enemy of God and his people. He did not let Goliath’s threats and name-callings trouble him whatsoever. No he saw the giant for what he really was, a bully. Goliath looked imposing but he was just a bully. But before this fight ever took place David was criticized by his own brother and told that he came only to watch the fighting. But David knew in his heart that this was a lie. So he ignored him and went on with what God had ordained him to do, slay Goliath
So why did we start with the scripture in Psalm? Because this scripture more than any other is what really hurt David. He is not talking about a Goliath type of bully here, but someone who was close to him. Now this could have been Saul (some believe it to be) or his son Absalom who betrayed him and stole the kingdom from him, only to die at David’s army’s hands. Notice in verse twelve that David says he could handle someone who would fight against him, that he could hide. In verse thirteen he calls this person who is his enemy someone that he loved and trusted, but who has been sneaky and undermined his power and authority.
In case you haven’t figured out what we are talking about today it is how to handle difficult people (i.e. bullies). Bullies are pretty insidious. They tend to be people that you are supposed to trust, and maybe you do, but they (over a period of time) begin to try to control you with words and actions. They begin to turn people away from you and change public opinion about you. No, bullies in adulthood are much more hard to spot (unless you are one of their victims) than the bullies on the play-ground. So let us look at some things today that may help you (if you are a bully or a victim).
With Bullies There is a Time to Flee
12 Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A flea? 15 Therefore let the Lord be judge, and judge between you and me, and see and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand.”
-1 Samuel 24:12–15 (NKJV)
Why did I list fleeing first? The reason is that as a Christian this is the best option. Saul was the King of Israel and he became a bully to David because of God’s anointing on David. He was jealous (Unfortunately this happens a lot in churches today. Christianity, being a religion of love and forgiveness, can become a safe harbor for these sorts of tactics and people.). But David refused to do anything to Saul. He refused to touch someone who was once anointed by God, and trust me he had plenty of opportunity to kill Saul!
Fleeing from a bully is not cowardice! It is actually a wise decision. Most bullies (in the church or the workplace) will play the political game and make you look terrible! It is important to do things God’s way and let Him handle it! God knows the truth so let Him work it for your good!
Bullies Take Their Anger Out on Others
4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. 6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
–1 Samuel 30:4–6 (NKJV)
Here we have David’s men very upset! They had a right to be! You see the Amalekites had taken their families, and instead of putting their anger on the ones who perpetrated the event, they wanted to stone David! He said a prayer and went and got their families back.
Now while this doesn’t directly discuss our topic there is a parallel here to bullies. Bullies often have areas in their lives they can’t control. So instead of dealing with those areas, they take it out on someone else! Usually it is someone under them (like an employee, or someone they perceive as weak). While taking their anger out on them they usually belittle them or make them feel insecure and inferior.
When dealing with a bully it is important to not lose your cool. Say a prayer like David did and listen for God’s response. His response may be for you to defend yourself, it may be to flee, it may be to completely leave their presence and cut all ties with them. Just make sure you don’t lose your cool and let God’s Word and His presence guide you to your response, after you are no longer angry.
Are You Sure You Haven’t Been a Bully?
13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
-2 Samuel 12:13 (NKJV)
You see David had a man killed so that he could take his wife from him (Bathsheba). He did a despicable thing! When Nathan went to him and shared a story of a man whose animal was taken from him, David became incensed about it! Nathan at that moment pointed his finger in David’s face and said that David was that man. Now David was faced with a choice, you see he had acted like a bully. He could have done what most bullies in the church/workplace do and had him removed and cover up his own problems or he could tear his clothes and repent before a Holy God. Thank God, he chose the latter.
Have you acted like a bully? Have there been times when you have acted out of anger and malice toward someone, and then to cover it up you make them look bad and you destroy their reputation to cover up your own sin? If so then you need to REPENT RIGHT NOW AND ASK FORGIVENESS FROM GOD AND FROM THE PERSON YOU HAVE BEEN HARMING! The Choice is yours.
If you are being bullied, remember that God knows. Seek out wisdom for this situation in God’s Word and seek out wisdom from others, maybe a pastor. But most of all seek God in prayer in how to deal with your situation.