When I drop my granddaughter off at school in the mornings, I stand outside the fence and pray. I pray over the students and the teachers, for safety and protection from invasive evil, physically, and from the philosophies of this world fueled by the lies of the enemy. I pray for the administrative staff, the cafeteria staff, custodial staff and all the other employees on this grade school campus, that they would be infused with Godly wisdom and perception. I pray that God would station mighty warriors at all the gates, not allowing dangerous people to enter. And I also pray that He would commission His warrior angels to protect the children in their classrooms, in the cafeteria, and on the playground, particularly from bullies and bullying spirits.
This is a battle I am more than happy to engage in—in the place where it is most effective, the spiritual realm.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 ESV)
I think most people, if we were to ask them, would find the actions and activities of bullies appalling—particularly the affects it has on those who are bullied.
Bullying behavior often includes ridicule, intimidation, dominance, or perceived threats—frequently intentional, and sometimes insentiently.
Yet, if adults and parents oppose bullying, where then do children learn to be bullies?
My daughter picked up Eugenie from Girl Scouts a few weeks ago and heard some young girls speaking very derisively against the current administration in the United States. I’m sure those who hate him, and his politics, would applaud them (though, considering their age, my curiosity is piqued about what they think they know about the president or the political climate in this country); I can only assume that the girls were echoing their parents’ words and the opinions they’ve expressed.
Now, this blog is NOT a political statement, because whoever is in office, there will always be those (even Christians) who criticize and demean not only the ones holding office, but also everyone who voted for them.
But I have been thinking of political memes (cultural items in the form of images, videos, phrases). …there are so many! – and they become especially prolific before, during, and often after emotionally charged, politically themed or activated occurrences. From what I’ve observed, political memes are not created to convince anyone of anything, they are mostly intended to intimidate those who disagree with their creator’s political stance—I’m pretty sure that, rather than fact-based, they are primarily meant to bolster those who agree with their premises and ridicule anyone who disagrees.
It is so difficult to not engage in some way or another in such a passionately charged culture, and with the insinuations of spiritual bullying! It is difficult not to have our attitudes tinged with frustration, intimidation, …or self-righteousness when social media is cluttered with these “clever” images!
So, how are we, as Christians supposed to respond (or are we?) to the taunts of those who oppose us? It is critically important that we not forget that the battle is waging in the unseen realm!
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication…” (Ephesians 6:13-18 ESV)
This is our duty (not complaining, criticizing, or arguing!): “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV)
These are to be the defining characteristics of our behavior as Christians: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2 ESV)
The Reason? “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. BUT when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to HIS own mercy…. (Titus 3:3-5 ESV)
I’m pretty sure the enemy seeks to upset us, hoping to corral Christians into a place of defensiveness; however, God does not need defending nor does He commission us to protect His honor in any other way than the manner in which we live. The Holy Spirit instructs us: “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:5-6 ESV)
“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom…. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:13, 17 ESV)