Bully “One who hurts or browbeats”
Having recently counseled people dealing with bullies got my husband, Larry, thinking about how prevalent they are. Here are some lessons he learned.
My walk home from elementary school often included unpleasant encounters with local bullies. I hid my money for a butter brickle ice cream cone in my shoe. This precaution protected my money—and me.
I’m grown, but bullies have continued to pop up in my life. They’ve shown up in places I’ve worked, in seminary, in extended family, and even in church.
Bullies use their advantages to steal more than ice cream money. They take our freedom, dignity, and closeness with God if we let them.
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Protect (Matt. 10:29-32; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20)
We belong to God, and it is good and right to protect ourselves from physical and emotional harm and the loss of personal freedom (Gal. 5:1).
Seminary was challenging in more ways than one. One of my professors used his position to intimidate students into swallowing his views and punished thinkers who expressed their own thoughts. Debriefing with the Lord, Debbie, and a few trusted classmates helped me protect my beliefs. I learned not to throw my pearls to pigs (Matt. 7:6).
Sometimes the way to escape is to leave unhealthy relationships. Abraham had to do this with his nephew Lot and later with his son Ishmael. Jacob had to create distance with his father-in-law.
Sometimes we can’t leave, but we can change how we relate to unsafe people. When I had a neighbor who screamed at me and lied about me I sensed the Lord say, “Shake the dust off your feet.” Obeying His prompting released me from the pressure to continue trying to build a friendship with someone I couldn’t trust or change and allowed my relationship with other neighbors to prosper.
God took Abraham into a foreign land and promised to bless him. Sometimes we’re tempted to stay in unhealthy relationships because they’re familiar. To leave the old and seek the new, throws us into the unknown.
When I had to emotionally leave a family relationship I valued, it saddened me—still does—but God has brought me a spiritual family that is grander than I ever expected.
If we can help you handle bullies better or help you stop being a bully, please contact us. You are very important to God and to us.
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- Join Debbie and others at the Knowing God “One Woman” conference February 2, 2019 in Morrisville, NC.
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Webster’s New World Dictionary