School of Christ Study to show thyself approved unto God

See all Christianity 101 Entries

Don't Let Bullies Hold You Down

Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. That's what I heard over and over while growing up. My siblings and I were continually reminded to "consider the source." In other words, if someone is saying something about you that you know isn't right, ignore them. That's great practical advice. Who cares what a liar thinks? So why do so many people in America in 2018 get so "offended" about every perceived ill-spoken word?

First off, let me point out that words have no power over you, except for the power you allow them to have. Let me say it again: Words have no power over you, except for the power you allow them to have. They're just words, not bullets. Not sharp knives. Just words.

When you allow someone else to offend you -- either by something they said or something they did -- you're giving them power over you. That person learns they can control you by exhibiting bad behavior. This is especially true if you refuse to show them mercy. What do I mean?

Say some unbeliever calls you a bigot because of your belief in Jesus and you're upset. That's understandable as nobody likes being called names. You then demand the person apologize to you. The person refuses to apologize. Now you're really upset and start to tell others about the terrible thing so-and-so said about you. See how this could escalate? And, in allowing it to continue, you really do become a victim by your own refusal to show mercy by dropping it. You even risk allowing a "root of bitterness" to spring up in your life (Hebrews 12:15), all because you didn't "consider the source."

If, instead, you choose to show mercy by "considering the source," realizing the offending person isn't a believer and is just doing what comes natural, you retain control and can feel empathy toward the person. We shouldn't expect unsaved people to do what's right in God's eye. We need to realize that mankind has a problem because everyone is doing what's right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6; Proverbs 21:2).

We need to be like Jesus when He was crucified. Talk about an innocent Man Who had a legitimate claim to being abused. Yet look what He did:

Luke 23:34 (KJV)

34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. 

And what about Stephen?

Acts 7:59-60 (KJV)

59  And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

60  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. 

What the unbeliever needs is the Gospel. When the person gets saved, the Holy Spirit will go to work in that person, changing them from the inside out. But if we spend all our thoughts on how we were wronged, we'll never see that person as someone we need to lift before God so they'll have a chance to repent and turn to Him.

So, if you want to be a victim, then be offended by everything anyone says. That's what millions of people are doing these days. They'll take a statement and change it slightly then claim they were "verbally abused." But that's dishonest and done in an effort to try and make the person who made the original statement look bad. In the process, they make themselves look bad as well.

I'll tell you up front, that doesn't make you a victim, it makes you seem childish. Any normal person will see you as being childish. The saddest part of this is when Christians complain about something someone said, wanting to feel like a victim. STOP being a victim! If you're born again, then you're a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Instead, let's take a look at a few things Jesus said.

In the Sermon On The Mount, one of the first things Jesus said was this:

Matthew 5:11-12 (KJV)

11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


When men say terrible things about us for being followers of Jesus Christ, we're not supposed to play the part of victims. We're supposed to rejoice! Why? Because it means we've been counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. That's pleasing to God and He won't forget. Our reward will be waiting for us in Heaven.

Keep in mind, Jesus said we're going to be hated by the world. That's because the world hated Him first:

John 15:18 (KJV)

18  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 

So don't expect the world, or those who are currently lost in sin, to love you. If every unbeliever you know seems to love you and has nothing bad to say about you while they remain in their sins, I'd be concerned. It may mean that you haven't told them the Truth (John 14:6). Or it may mean that you haven't been living in a way that shows people you're a follower of Christ (Matthew 5:16; 2 Timothy 3:12).

Look what the Apostle Peter had to say about this:

1 Peter 4:14-16 (KJV)

14  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

15  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.

16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.


This comes back to what I said at the start. If someone -- a friend, enemy, stranger, politician, etc. -- says something about you that isn't true, why be offended? Feel sorry for that person. Pray for that person. Do something nice for that person. Bless that person. Know whose advice that is? Here's a hint.

Matthew 5:43-48 (KJV)

43  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

48  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


Let's stop following the ways of the world and follow our Lord instead. Don't expect unsaved people to think or act like saved people. Instead, pray for people that act like unsaved people. That's because people who act like unsaved people are unsaved. They need an Advocate (1 John 2:1). Lift them before the Throne of God and ask that God would open their eyes.

That makes us proactive in reaching the world for Christ. It also keeps us from wasting time feeling sorry for ourselves.

Finally, look at how the Apostles dealt with people who abused them.

Acts 5:40-42 (KJV)

40  And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41  And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

42  And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.


Let's stop wasting time crying about what someone said, or didn't say, and get back to teaching and preaching Christ, as we've been instructed to do (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). It's what the early church did, and they turned the world upside down for Christ (Acts 17:6).

So what's it going to be? Sit around and feel sorry for ourselves? Or teach and preach Christ and see if we can turn the world upside down for Christ?

Otherwise, we may risk hearing this from Jesus:

Matthew 16:23 (KJV)

23  But he turned, and said unto Peter [or me!], Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

go back