Written by, Denny & Alonna Livingston
Wow!!! Is that a paradox or what? How can you call yourself a Christian and be a bully? Believe it or not, it’s happening. My wife and I spent some time with a young lady recently and she shared with us a personal struggle that she is going through. It seems that she has some family members and friends that do not agree with her on certain issues. The more I listened to this young lady, the more I could see that she has a genuine love for God and wouldn’t want to do anything to be displeasing to Him. The problem she is facing, is her Christian friends and family don’t agree with her on a few details and so they take the liberty of telling her she isn’t saved. Now, I’m not going to go into the details of what they disagree on, but I will tell you, they are not salvation issues. They are personal preferences and traditions made by man. In my opinion, they should be personal convictions only.
With that being said, these friends are trying to make her feel like she is lost and going to hell. Yes, I said that correctly. Young people judging who is saved and who isn’t and making people feel bad if they don’t live like they think they should. I call this “Christian Bullying”. You don’t look exactly like me, so you’re not saved. God won’t hear your prayers wearing that. You can’t go to heaven looking like that. The list goes on and on and the audacity of these people to think that this is Christ-like.
I can’t actually blame this all on the kids, because they didn’t learn this behavior on their own. They’ve heard it somewhere. Maybe they’ve overheard a conversation that their parents or other adults have had concerning people’s salvation? The truth is, no matter how they came to that conclusion, the effects of bullying can be detrimental. Whether you agree with someone or not, it doesn’t give you a right to be mean and disrespectful even if you think you are doing it in the name of the Lord.
I try to be careful not only as a dad, but also as a pastor. The Bible says, God has given us pastors for the perfecting of the saints to teach us how to rightly divide the word of God. I know my words can bring life or death and I never want the people in my congregation to feel like it’s ok to judge and condemn people. Some have called me a compromiser, but my response has always been, how can I go wrong by loving people? Not to mention, “He that is without sin, cast the first stone.” I don’t believe in using scare tactics and manipulation in the pulpit. The pulpit is sacred and should be used for the saving of sinners and the perfecting of the saints, not to manipulate people. Please don’t confuse preaching against sin with being a bully. Sin must be preached against but the Word of God will prick the hearts of the sinner when it is preached with love.
So, whenever you are around someone that doesn’t see things exactly the way you do, instead of trying to make people feel beneath you because they don’t agree, be a true Christian and show the love of God. Keep in mind that your interpretation of what is sin, may not be same as someone else . Even if you believe they are living in sin, bullying them is not going to make them want to change. The people that come to church because they are afraid, many times become bitter and end up leaving because they don’t understand how the love of God makes them feel bullied. If you really feel like someone isn’t living right, the Christian thing to do is pray for them, not judge and condemn them. That isn’t helping anyone, in fact, it’s potentially creating more hurt.
The ultimate example for us to look to is Jesus. Yes, He was criticized because He ate with sinners, but never one time did He try to manipulate or bully someone into doing what was right. Jesus said the Spirit of God would lead people into all truth. WOW! His Spirit will lead people to what is right, but a bullying spirit will cause people to run away. What kind of spirit do you want?
If you’re being bullied, I hope this blog blesses and encourages you. If you’re a bully, I beg you to please change your tactics. You’re not compromising by loving people that are not like you. Develope your own personal convictions and live by them, but don’t try to bully someone into feeling like they’re lost if they don’t. Let’s put an end to “CHRISTIAN BULLYING!!!”
The definition of bullying is; To use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.