Week of February 12
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” -Matthew 5:44
From the playground to the workplace, 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 wound others, and they intentionally target. 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 abdominal: They are bossy; they butt in line in front of us; 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.
So what’s a Godly girl to do? Here are some practical tips for the journey:
Resolve to know your divine assignments; choose to be led by the spirit in carrying out those assignments, and don’t let any bully stop you.
Do not fear. 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.
Guard your heart. 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. They are miserable, tormented people, who want to tear others down. Recognize their behavior and choose the high road. Be wiser than your worst adversary.
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.
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 are doing the best they know how. When I was a flight attendant, God often sent me people who were miserable and had hit the wall, but they didn’t know where to go. 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 people to pray for who were still early in their recovery journey, those 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 until the harvest was made complete.
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 them, ask God to give you the words that will turn away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).
Petition God for His unique 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 wisdom and hearken.
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. If the situation becomes unbearable or so stressful 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.
Keep your eyes stayed upon the Lord: 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.
Worship God and watch Him work on your behalf. In time, He will either remove you or the bully. And 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).
Pray over your workspace, your home, your car. Plead the blood of Jesus. Ask the Lord to commission angels to watch over you and to fight your battles. Then expect victory. I’ve been known to go into work early just to pray over workers who have yet to arrive or do prayer walks around my office building. Prayer is powerful. 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 He will promote you out of the situation. Remember, you are being tested.
Be patient and choose to trust God. Bullies often do not change overnight. But frequently, a few well chosen words can make a big difference. A close friend of mine, whom I used to work with, frequently asked difficult people, “Who has hurt you?” Most of the time, their hard demeanors broke. 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 questions usually stop bullies in their tracks. Many times, they are the words that break the hardness of their heart. So, if you ask these questions, be prepared to minister to them. And at the very least, the bully will likely begin to back down, since they will know that you are onto their game and are not afraid to confront them. But much of them time, they cry.
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 if we say we love God but do not love others, we are liars. Still, we must be led by the Holy Spirit and be carefully obedient to follow Him. 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.
Who’s bullying you? What are you doing about it? Do you pray for your enemies and exhibit kindness? Is there anyone you need to forgive? Have you confront your bullies?
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ.