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There isn’t a single human on earth who at some point doesn’t have to deal with a bully. Define a bully any way you want but essentially it is simply that person in your life who makes things miserable for you by trying to control you.
They may think they have good intentions in mind for you or they might just be an outright evil-doer. Whatever their motive is, the effect on you is hurt, anxiety, confusion and fear that they won’t stop no matter what you do.
So what can you do?
Avoidance. In some cases where you have the opportunity and freedom, simply leave and don’t come back. Jesus instructed his disciples to “shake the dust off their feet” and leave if they were mistreated and rejected. But that may not be possible when it comes to certain relationships like marriage, work, school or family. In those cases you need to stay and deal with the adversity head on.
Silence. When you are assaulted with insults or unfounded accusations, don’t defend. Trying to defend your case often ends up strengthening your accuser. When Jesus was falsely accused and insulted he made no answer and did not seek revenge. In fact he said to bless those who curse you. It can be very disarming for someone who wants to pick a fight to have no one to fight back.
Love. This can be the most powerful weapon you have in dealing with a bully. Jesus told us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate you. That doesn’t mean we have to pretend to have feelings of love for someone who mistreats you. But it may mean showing love with actions of good deeds. Jesus said that if your adversary asks you to go one mile (in carrying his load), go two instead. Take the opportunity if it comes to show an act of kindness (or mercy) when your adversary is in need.
Pray. While it may be tempting to pray that God would punish your enemy, offer forgiveness instead. Pray for their welfare and that they would turn to God. Jesus modeled it for us and then asked us to do the same when he said, “Pray for those who persecute you.”
The bottom line in all this is for you to take the high road and stay at peace. Everyone has bullies. And you’ve been entrusted with an opportunity to grow bigger on the inside while modeling for others the way to deal with those who hurt you. Your patience, strength and courage will pay off and you will be honored and respected.