I couldn't believe the news this week. There is an actual case of "bullying" in the NFL. My initial thinking was these men are highly trained, strongly disciplined and exceptionally talented. Most of all, they are adults and should be able to handle disagreements on an adult level.
Then I recalled the news reports of teens in various parts of the country that shared in bullying problems too. The sad part is that some of them ended in disaster. Lives damaged and in some cases ruined, over things that seem so trivial.
It was probably providence as I was catching up on reading a few days worth of emails this morning, the one that caught my eye was titled, "What Shall We Do With Church Bullies?" Bullies in the church? Really?
It didn't take much reading or thinking on my part to recall some situations where the term bully would easily apply. So without getting specific enough to recognize anyone, let's consider the subject together.
The email article I referred to above is written by Joe McKeever, a man who serves God and people in the New Orleans area. He approaches the bullying subject by giving us some basis truths. 1. A bully is always wrong about himself. They don't see themselves as a bully, they see themselves as being more important or more intelligent than others about what is best for the church. Very rapidly a bully will insist his ways and ideas are superior to those of others. 2. Bullies are also wrong about the church. Jesus said, "I will build my church." It's his, not ours. We are added to it by him, but we cannot claim it as a possession like Jesus can. Bullies often know the Word of God, but rarely do they apply it, filtering in through the heart of God. More than any one person or group of people having their way in the church, the primary prayer should always be, "Lord, what will you have me to do?" 3. Bullies are wrong about God. Remember the words of Jacob at Bethel, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not. This is the very House of God, the very gate of Heaven.” The bully sees his ideas and his wishes as more important than yielding to the ways of God. This is especially true of church leaders who have developed the bullying attitude. We all need to learn that the church is God's house, and these are God's people, and we are all accountable to God for our behavior toward everyone else.
Mr. McKeever continues to explain in our dealing with bullies in the church we must understand we are not fighting against flesh and blood. The real enemy is always Satan. That is why we must not stoop to using human tactics like revenge or ugliness. We are under biblical mandate to use the strongest tool of all......LOVE. That becomes easier to do when we realize Jesus, in teaching us about these matters, says we are to do good to those who hate us, to bless them, and to pray for them.
Our right attitude toward the bully will bring about positive results. God will be honored when disagreements are settled, Jesus will be pleased, and we will be further strengthened to be used by the Holy Spirit. When that happens, Satan is defeated. Remember, your strongest tool is LOVE.