Proverbs 4:13 – Don’t set foot on the path of the wicked; don’t proceed in the way of evil ones. (HCSB)
Colossians 3:13 – accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. (HCSB)
I am sharing with my friend a comment someone made to me at church about my weight. My weight has always been a struggle for me, and I get teary just recounting the incident. As my friend pours another cup of coffee, she recounts some past comments this person has made to me. I am honestly shocked when my friend asks if I am aware that I am being bullied. Bullying seems to be a prevalent topic in today’s society, and if you believe the media, is out of control among teens, but with adults in the church? There are laws about bullying in the schools and bullying in the workplace, but what about when the bully is a fellow church member? What can you do when the hurtful and belittling comments come from a soft-spoken, scripture quoting, church lady? When we think of bullies, we often have the image of Goliath – someone bigger, meaner, loud with their taunting words. But, how are we to handle the bully who is so manipulative with her sweetness that it makes you look like the mean girl? I know that I should pray scripture over her, but the scripture I really want to pray is 2 Kings 2:23-24 and then just wait for the bears! No exercise manual would ever offer “sitting” and “walking” as synonyms, so wouldn’t that justify me sitting on her with my overweight self and not worrying about Proverbs 4:14? What my worldly self desires is revenge, but the words of Josh Billings come to mind, “There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.” Then I have to ask myself, “who am I to withhold mercy when so much mercy has been shown to me?” and immediately my prayers change. I need to remember Proverbs 15:1 and respond to her with gentle rather than harsh words. Nikos Kazantzakis said, “Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” Lord, I know that I cannot change this person, but please help me to change my vision of her. Instead of seeing her as a harassing tyrant to sidestep, help me to see her as a hurting treasure to seek. Lord, Proverbs 15:18 tells me that I have a choice, and with each encounter, I pray that I will choose to be the one who calms the quarrel not the one who stirs up conflict.