The seed of bullying is offense… when someone becomes offended and they choose not to forgive, they go offend someone else – and the cycle goes on and on. It is EXTREMELY EASY to become offended. Don’t be fooled, and don’t believe it is only the big things which can cause offense.
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. Eph 4:32
GIVING UP THE GOSSIP
Earlier this week I shared a video on Facebook which showed what happens when two houseplants are fed positive and negative words for 30 days and it was profound! After subject (A) was fed negative words for a month, the plant was noticeably droopy and sad while the other plant which was fed with praise – subject (B) – was healthy and prospering. (You can watch it here) The study was preformed in an elementary school and the two plants were made to be put on display in front of impressionable children, children who unfortunately seem to experience the affects of bullying the most. But did you know gossiping is a form of bullying too?
Hit shows like The Real Housewives, Dance Moms, The Kardashians, and other Reality Shows like these can be extremely entertaining. After all what’s more fun than watching a cat fight over a pair of $700 Jimmy Choo’s when you are at home upset because you just blew out your flip-flop on a pop-top. But aren’t the people in these shows just grown ups acting like elementary school bullies? Heckling each other, gossiping about each other, taking more cues from Urban Dictionary than from English class. Is this example of entertainment Christ-Like? The easy answer is no. The hard answer is… my spirit says NO but my flesh says I WANT MORE.
BEING SENSITIVE IS HARD
Let’s face it, being “sensitive” is hard. Ever since we were babies we were taught to: “Be tough. Don’t cry. Man up. Put your big girl panties on. Get the job done.” Sometimes watching grown adults whine like babies and act the way we secretly want to is too hard a proposition to pass up!
Typically the idea of being sensitive creates in us an image of a sissy or weak person and not wanting to be frail, we as human beings become stuck between to personas… one hard and gritty and the other soft and squishy.
In the King James version of today’s scripture, the original word for “sensitive” is the word tenderhearted. The scripture states: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted”. The word tenderhearted interestingly enough in the original Greek language is the word eusplagchnos (yus- bloch- nas) which literally means “having strong bowels”. WOW! Our sensitivity to one another isn’t a weakness, the words sensitive or tenderhearted were never meant to mean weak or frail. To be tenderhearted actually means to have GUTS. Not just a fortress of guts, but bowels so strong you can stomach the pain and endure the torture which comes with resisting the sins of the flesh – which includes gossip and bullying one another.
Jesus was being tenderhearted when he was being brutally wiped and lashed. Jesus was being sensitive when he told Peter to stand down in the Garden of Gethsemane while he reattached a guards ear (which Peter had just cut off). Jesus was being sensitive when the crowds spit at him and shouted for his death on the cross. Jesus had GUTS, even Jesus and his strengthened bowels, admitted being sensitive was hard –
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 NIV
He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. Luke 22: 44 NLT
Have you ever been cruising on the freeway at 75 mph and then pass a sports car which could have easily sped past you, but it’s only going 65? Whenever this happens I am reminded that even sports cars don’t always drive top speed. Sure they can go 200 mph easy, but the wise driver feels the most in control when they know they possess the ability to speed but instead choose not to. Can we cut others down? Can we ruin their reputations through gossip? Could Jesus have said just ONE CUTTING WORD and instantly been freed from all his persecutions… absolutely he could have. But wouldn’t that have made him a bully too? Let that sink in for a moment.
FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER QUICKLY
I believe the seed of bullying is offense… when someone becomes offended and they choose not to forgive, they go offend someone else – and the cycle goes on and on. It is EXTREMELY EASY to become offended. Don’t be fooled, and don’t believe it is only the big things which can cause offense To be “offended” simply means to be ‘off – ended’. For example a picture which is crooked is off – ended. A tablecloth which hangs too low on one side is off – ended.
With this simple and clear understanding of “off” ense, can you see how easily it is to become offended, or better yet to cause offense?
Perhaps your Aunt was extremely clean and always yelled at you when you didn’t use a coaster – to her, this was an offensive act. (water and wood don’t mix) However to you, if you didn’t have strong enough guts (also known as “sensitivity”), you could have easily taken offense, any normal person would understand. What the Bible says is if you didn’t forgive her right away or quickly enough, that offense more than likely will fester and grow inside of you and cause you to see her as a coaster loving bully, which in turn would create in you some other form (if not the same) bullying tendencies!
I have this funny picture in my mind of God creating the Platypus. I can see him thinking out-loud to Himself “I want to create something which will make me laugh” and TADA!!! A Platypus is created. Then God looks at His Platypus’ playing in the soft grasses and He smiles and says to Himself “This is good, these creatures are good.”
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Genesis 1:31 NIV
CHRIST FORGAVE YOU
But then a day came when mankind had become so sinful and evil in heart God regretted making man. The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. Genesis 6:6 It is in my opinion that up until this day God saw man and woman as His sons and daughters but through the sin of man’s heart and his evil ways, God now looked down on his creation and could only see mankind as one genus. Like we look at dogs.
The evilness, the sameness of man had become so similar between one and all we as a species went from being individuals to just “man”. From God’s point of view we weren’t special to Him anymore, and this made Him sad. The entire human race had just become “man-meat” – all except one family. Noah’s family was the only family left on the planet which was righteous, in Genesis it says Noah walked alone with God.
When Jesus was on the cross and he looked out to the people who were crucifying him, he chose at that very moment to be sensitive – sensitive unto death on the cross. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Jesus choose to look out to the seas of people and not see them as the were but as they COULD be. He didn’t see crowds of “man-meat” but instead he choose to see the potential in each person, even the Pharisees.
He saw they had the potential through the belief in the resurrection power to one day become the Noah’s of their time, modern day righteous men and women. He saw the best in those who persecuted him, and this is what the Bible calls us to do, this is how we STOP bullying and violent acts.
As Christians, we are called to see the best in those who persecute us by first being found sensitive in the strongest sense of the word, and then by letting go of offenses by forgiving others completely and quickly – just like Jesus.
Jessica and her husband Jeff have been married for 21 years and currently live in the Silicon Valley with their seven children. We at WHM encourage you to share this message if it has blessed you. Wholeness is for everyone! You can also check out our new category tabs on our site www.wholeheartedministries.com for more subjects such as Salvation 101, Marriage 101, Salvation 101, Money 101, Parenting 101, and Minute Motivations. We are working tirelessly to update our site, thank you for being patient with us as we work through this time of transition! You can subscribe to our daily blog here.
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