Week of February 5, 2012
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” -Matthew 5:44
From the playground to the boardroom, we’ve all encountered bullies in some form. Simply put, bullies are people who are not in alignment with God. They are wounded people who are stuck (as in spiritually bound), They intentionally target and wound others. They may even have demons. God warns us in The Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 that His people live side by side with evil people in the world, so bullies should come as no surprise to us.
There is usually one in every arena, and their behavior is abominable: They invade our boundaries; they butt in line in front of us; they are bossy; they give us undeserved attitude, slander us, slight us, hurl false accusations at us, hate us, envy us and basically give us a hard time. They may also conduct illegal activities.
So what’s a Godly girl to do? Here are some practical tips for the journey:
Do not engage with them beyond what is necessary. Don’t make the mistake of thinking if you’re kind to them, they won’t harm you. That’s setting yourself up to be a target for a terrorist. Their game is terrorizing others for the purpose of tearing others down and building themselves up. They don't care about you. They take cheap shots, and their tactics typically include intimidation, sabotage, ambush and undermining one's confidence. Sometimes, we must ask God for His heart to love others. And it’s okay to love at a distance when necessary.
Resolve to know your divine assignments; choose to be led by the Holy Spirit in carrying out those assignments, and don’t let any bully stop you. Remember, God is with you, you are being tested and you have an opportunity to impact much. Do your part, and expect a break through in God’s time and in God’s way.
Commit to God’s sanctification process. Ask God what He wants you to “get” from this situation. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your soul and reveal to you any secret sin that may have brought affliction upon you; then wait for His reply. If He reveals something to you, repent of the sin, and watch how quickly God will put an end to your suffering. Ask Him to promote you out of the situation (1 Peter 5:10).
Do not fear; do not be intimidated. Instead, stand upon God’s truth, and put your faith into action by taking authority: “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy,” Jesus said in Luke 10:19, “nothing will harm you.” Any fear of man in you should bow to the reverential fear of God. If you’re feeling weak, ask God for an encounter with Him to strengthen you.
Recognize the spirit behind the bully. Bullies have issues, and they may even have demons. Bind the enemy and loose God’s love over them (Matthew 18:18). Pray for their deliverance, their issues to be uprooted, a cleansing of the Holy Spirit to wash over them, a fullness of God’s love to overtake them, a transformation, a continuation for them to be led by the Holy Spirit to the sources and resources that can help them, ones from which they can receive. And remember, their deliverance can happen instantaneously, or it can be a process.
Guard your heart, and be wiser than your worst adversary. Don your armor daily, be quick to forgive and pray for the bully’s conviction and a softened, clean heart. Bullies like to go for the heart, and they are self-serving. They are miserable, tormented people, who want to tear others down. Recognize their behavior, and choose the high road.
Petition God for His unique battle strategies. He revealed them to Joshua, and He can reveal them to you. God sees and knows all things, including the depths of every heart. He knows just what will deliver and cultivate the bully’s heart, far better than we. Sync up with His voice and wisdom, and choose to hearken.
Choose to not be provoked by the bully. Kindness and self control are strong weapons in the face of ugliness; they are fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). Being provoked is the equivalent of being controlled. Ask God to help you not sin. If you must speak to the bully, ask God to give you the words that will turn away wrath, and ask Him to place a spiritual sentry over your mouth (Proverbs 15:1). Careful obedience is critical.
Turn to God for vindication. Romans 12:9 states, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." Ask God to help you love the person and hate the sin, to give you His eyes and heart towards the bully. If the bully is in your workplace, pray for God to reveal the bully’s illegal activities, that blind eyes will open, and deception will end. Cry out for justice, and stand on His promises. Declare: Isaiah 56:1, Amos 5:24, Psalm 89:14, 99:4, Proverbs 8:20 and Deuteronomy 16:20.
Prayer is powerful. So pray over your workspace, your church, your home, your family, your car, etc. Plead the blood of Jesus, and ask the Lord for a firewall of protection as He was for Jerusalem (Zechariah 2:5). Ask the Lord to commission angels to watch over you and to fight your battles. Then expect victory. I’ve been known to do prayer walks around my office building and go into work early just to pray over workers who have yet to arrive. God has placed you there, so exercise your authority through prayer. And remember, just because a spiritual battle ensues does not mean that you are losing ground. If you remain in the Lord and His ways, you will win; and winning oftentimes means that He will promote you out of the situation. Remember, also, that you are being tested for higher ground. Resolve to stand firm, and expect a breaking point. This breaking point may be the first manifestation of your breakthrough. Again, do not fear.
Know who you are in Christ, and remember that nothing can separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:38). He is for you and has "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus died to restore us, which includes breaking curses in our lives (Galatians 3:13-14). Speak curse-breaking declarations as part of your prayer time, affirming that every word curse, witchcraft curse and generational curse has been broken over you and every area of your life.
Keep your eyes stayed upon the Lord. Shake off any grave clothes and don a garment of praise. Play praise music, and take prayer and praise breaks. David praised God several times a day. Where else would a king go? Remember, God is your source and protector. And in His prevailing presence, miracles happen and devils flee. So get full of God’s presence.
Worship God and watch Him work on your behalf. In time, He will either remove you or the bully. And if we do our part, it usually doesn’t take long. Remember to ask God to intervene. He likes to be invited. Sometimes, we have not, because we ask not (James 4:2).
Could it be you’re on a mission? Ask God. It is very possible that God has placed you in the bully’s path to pray for them, because no one else is. After all, some bullies do not attend church and don’t know any better. God may also be calling you to step up and be a David in the face of a Goliath. When I was a flight attendant, God often sent people to me who were miserable and had hit the wall, but they didn’t know where to go. Many of them had been raised with a foundation of Christianity but had grown away from it. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me to pray for them; and when I did, I often saw instant deliverance, because those miserable people were ready to stop being miserable. In some cases, however, God sent me to pray for those who were stuck, people who were not entirely ready to give up their sins. In those cases, I knew that God would bring others along their path to continue to sow seeds of prayer, deliverance and witnessing until the harvest was made complete.
Be patient as much as possible, and choose to trust God. Bullies often do not change overnight, and it's not your responsibility to change them; only God can do that. Frequently, a few well chosen words can make a big difference. A close friend of mine, with whom I used to work, frequently asked difficult people, “Who has hurt you?” Most of the time, their hard demeanors broke, and they cried on the spot. I have another ministry friend who asks difficult people, who come to her for counseling, “I’m hearing your words, but the pain in your heart is overpowering them.” These statements usually stop bullies in their tracks. Many times, they are the words that break the hardness of their hearts. So, if you ask these questions, be prepared to minister to them. And at the very least, the bully will likely back down, since they will know that you are onto their game and are not afraid to confront them.
Could it be that God uses bullies to challenge us to come up higher in the areas of spiritual discernment and love? Luke 6:32 tells us that it is easy to love the “lovable,” but what about the “unlovable"? 1 John 4:20 tells us that if we say we love God but do not love others, we are liars. Retreating and shaking off the dust can also be a wise strategy, however, in order to know what to do, we must be led by the Holy Spirit. Remember, God has a plan. Ask Him to reveal it to you.
If the bully is someone in your workplace that you must interact with daily, demonstrate love, and work around them when possible. Be careful to watch your words, and keep up your guard. Smile in the face of evil. If the situation becomes unbearable or so stressful that you have difficulty doing your job, ask to be moved or reassigned. And if it becomes threatening or dangerous, report the situation to human resources, regardless of the political climate.
Remember to walk in forgiveness, and release the bully to God (Matthew 18:22). Choose to trust that God can and will deal with the bully way better than you. If we do our part, God will do His. In this way, forgiveness is conditional (Matthew 6:12). It does not condone the bully’s sinful behavior. Rather, it releases us to come out from under their control.
Unforgiveness is a sin that can keep us legally bound in the difficult test. It can even open the door to more spiritual torment in our lives. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any root of unforgiveness—any unknown sin—in your heart. Then repent immediately.
Who’s bullying you? What are you doing about it? Is there anyone you need to forgive?
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