Friday, June 29, 2012

Crows And Spiritual Bullies

My front yard has been a bit of a playground the past few mornings, and the bullies are in no short supply. Black crows have been littering the yard, strutting around with chests puffed out, pecking the ground. I don't like them to begin with, but on Tuesday morning, they particularly annoyed me. A squirrel was scampering around, minding his own business when one of the crows decided to pester him. The squirrel ran a few steps away, but the crow just wouldn't stop. In fact, a few of his buddies joined him, and they ganged up on the squirrel. Finally, the squirrel had had enough, and jumped in the air to defend himself. Eventually, the crows returned to strutting and pecking, leaving the squirrel alone.

The scene reminded me of one in which I've been on both sides: that of the spiritual bully.

I've been the one to spout off my beliefs with pious arrogance and sarcasm with little concern for the person on the receiving end. I remember someone once telling me that my Jesus was an a**hole. Of course, I was immediately offended and told the person so. Looking back, I can see his point. My concept of Jesus was limited and skewed. I didn't leave room for Jesus to be be gracious or merciful or loving or miraculous or good or...{steady yourself}! I painted an ugly picture of Him for people to see based on my limited understanding of Him.

I've also been on the receving end of spiritual bullying, aka speaking the truth in love. I may be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure when namecalling begins, the truth is no longer being spoken in love. I tried to ignore the attacks, then I tried to defend myself. After much prayer, I eventually had to remove myself from the situation.

You see, Jesus is more powerful and works in more than ways than many Christians believe. We try to fit Him into the confines of our neat, little boxes and wrap Him up with our chosen theology, but sometimes He just blows all that away! To argue otherwise is pointless.

I don't know if there's ever been a time when spiritual bullying actually brought someone to Jesus, but I can think of many when grace and mercy did so. As a Christian who's been on both ends, I have to say that arguing {or debating} issues often does more harm than good. People are more receptive to the love of Jesus, His grace and His mercy than to holier-than-thou attitudes. Even Proverbs 16:24 says, Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Isn't that what this world needs? Healing from the Healer. Our words and attitudes can often lead them to Him or away from Him. Choose wisely.

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