Topic: Live and let live
Focus: What would Jesus do?
2 Timothy 2:24 (NKJV) But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.
Jesus was the perfect example of One who avoided foolish and ignorant disputes. On a number of occasions, religious leaders tried to draw Him into discussions hoping they could get Him to say something that would contradict scripture and prove that He was a counterfeit. Jesus spoke with wisdom and was always in perfect control. He didn’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing. He was the living Word of God, made flesh. He could not contradict Himself in any way.
We, on the other hand, don’t always think before we speak. We aren’t full of wisdom and what we say isn’t always in perfect agreement with the Word of God. If we could remember to think first, and speak later–we would probably avoid most, if not all of the disputes that come up in life.
If we had a better knowledge of the Word of God, we would understand the futility of arguing and finding fault with other people. We would realize that our job is to pray for people and let God have His way in changing them, or us.
Why is it that some people think it is their calling in life to tell the rest of the world how they should think, talk, act, and breathe? What satisfaction can there be in watching for someone to make a mistake, so that their error can quickly be pointed out, and advice–no correction–can be given as to how what they did or said, could have been done or said, better? We’ve all been around someone like that at one time or another, and had to be the object of their disapproval. It’s not a fun place to be. Critical people aren’t often discreet about their opinion, either. In fact, some of them actually enjoy having an audience.
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I had an elementary school teacher who fit the description I have just given. Everyone in the class that year, sat with their heads bowed slightly and avoided eye contact when a question was posed. Students rarely volunteered an answer, since it was her way to ridicule almost any response. I have many memories of her pounding her fist on her desk and yelling at us with a red face. We were just young children–too afraid of her to knowingly cause any kind of trouble. She was a grown up bully. That kind of thing probably doesn’t happen anymore–or maybe it does…
I have observed parents who bully their children–don’t ask me why. I have observed husbands who bully their wives. I have observed wives who bully their husbands. And I’ve observed children who bully their parents, and their siblings. I could go on, but I’m sure the picture has been painted well enough that by now, you may be recalling people whom you have known who behaved this way toward people, too.
In depression and dependency, it’s common to have had some experience as the victim of a bully. You may have had to deal with this kind of thing in the past–or maybe it’s something you’re living with right now. Sometimes victims of bullies become bullies themselves.
Whichever way you might have experienced bullying, remember Jesus was bullied, too. When those who bullied Jesus couldn’t get Him to participate in their charade, one thing led to another and the situation got more than ugly. But in the end, God was glorified.
Nobody likes to think of the awful things Jesus suffered–the most decent people wouldn’t want to think of any person being bullied to the point of abuse–yet it happens.
If you are currently being bullied, try to remember the advice given in 2 Timothy 2:24. Sometimes, out of habit, you might be drawn into a dispute that will only lead to strife. Scripture tells us to avoid arguing. That advice isn’t always easy to follow if you have a hard time letting someone else have the last word.
Jesus didn’t worry about letting His accusers have the last word, He knew the truth–and that was enough for Him. Is that enough for you? When someone wrongly or rightly accuses you, are you able to remain silent? Or, if you’re the one doing the bullying–could you just stop?
If you’re being bullied and you stop responding–it doesn’t mean the bullying will stop–but it means you will no longer give the bully any verbal encouragement to continue. If the bully continues, pray for the one who is misusing you. Draw from the Love of God to find the ability to bless them. That’s what scripture tells us to do. As you pray for them and bless them, God will bless you in return. He is glorified when we are able to respond as Jesus would.
Declaration: I will find new strength as the Love of God enables me to avoid foolish and ignorant disputes.
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