It seems like there are always at least one or two people who do not like you. You may or may not know the reason, and I think the times when you don’t know can make it even harder.
Over the eight or so years that I have led middle and high school Bible studies, I remind the girls that the drama experienced in school will likely show up again in adult life.
My advice? Learn how to handle those people now and how you will respond to them. If we can learn how to avoid and ignore people (when possible) who live like a bully, then no fuel is added to the fire by our potential retaliation. They thrive on reaction.
The Biblical approach is to first pray for your enemies and bless those who persecute you. I absolutely believe no one can change a heart except for the Lord. He created us and knows each individual intimately. That is why prayer is the best choice because it can move God, to move them.
Unfortunately, I am not very qualified to say much more because this is one area in my spiritual life where I often fail.
Just last year, I encouraged my oldest daughter to take some boy “to the ground by any means necessary,” if he ever touched her again, after he tried to shove her down at a school event. She was his section leader and apparently he was very vocal that he did not like taking direction from a woman. #momfail #mommabear #praybeforegrowling
Injustice, false accusations and feet that run to spread strife or destruction have brought great turmoil to my life, and the Lord is STILL working on me and how I respond to them.
He reminded me just today of the pages and pages of injustice Jesus received before He was crucified from friends and foe. From His own people. Nothing was fair about what happened, but it was the Father’s will for a much greater purpose.
Here are some of the passages that speak truth and not my momma bear language:
So, going back to those girls (or boys) who were unhappy, jealous, and bullies as teenagers, who like to spread gossip and turn people against each other, are often still that way when they get older.
I can sometimes see past the expression on someone’s face and recognize the pain behind their eyes. Their actions are based on deep hurt and emotion, and are not always intended as malicious.
Others, like the old Andy Griffith quote, “Some people aren’t going to die like everyone else. They’re just going to nasty away!”
It is kind of funny now, but I had one or two girls terrorize me in high school. One threatened to beat me up for two years in a row, and my name was always on the bathroom wall (normally misspelled). She was a beast and could have totally smashed me.
She never did. She just spread rumors, would get in my face and poke her finger in my chest, and I just stood there, terrified.
That was 27 years ago. I’m good now. 😂
Although there was another time, as an adult, that I came across another bully (in a previous job). I really thought we were friends until other people began to share what all she said behind my back.
I felt so foolish because I would always bring her favorite candy at least once a month to thank her for times when she helped me. I had trusted her with my friendship. So, I continued to do nice things for a while, thinking I could win her over with kindness.
One day, I heard her talking about me in another room. She couldn’t understand why people even liked me, and then in a lovely, sarcastic tone, she exclaimed, “But, she’s just SO nice!”
Not from me. I cried, of course, because I am a wimp! I do care what people think, and I do try to be nice. Approval was always important to me, although I knew I should not seek it from people. Not only is my skin pale, but it’s also not very thick.
This week, I had someone call me with unfavorable, and somewhat betrayal news. Sparing all of the details, I found myself in that place where I could not stop the tears.
Traitor tears. Ugh.
Only this time…I said, “God, You are there and You are here. You knew this before I did, so please help me to respond and react in the right way. Your will be done.”
Then, I go to that familiar verse from James 1:2-4 that constantly evolves and has deeper meaning for me as I grow in faith:
“Consider it ALL JOY, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
The Message describes it like this:
Think of it as our next round of training, or sometimes a retake on a test we failed. Sure, there were occasional lectures and classes you skipped. I made a C in college aerobics (of all things) because I got lazy and did not go to class.
We have to let problems, conflicts, and trials “do its work so we can become mature and not deficient in any way.”
Not 30 minutes later, I came across this devotion on my Facebook newsfeed.
It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
“Facing Ridicule.” Good timing, Lord. I see what you did there. ☺️
Here is a small excerpt, but I would encourage you to read the whole thing. I couldn’t end this post any better (maybe…see below).
Now to end with some humor for those that have a little age on you… the video is even better than the photo!
Credit to whoever still owns the Andy Griffith show and Faithgateway.
Copyright © 2018 Keysha Thomaston.