Bunnies are Bullies

BULLYING

Current statistics indicate half of school-age children report having been bullied in the past month.  A strong link exists between bullying and suicide–the leading cause of death for young people.

Bullying is an increasing problem, but it isn’t a new problem nor is it confined to schools.  Businesses bully, politicians bully, police bully, minorities bully, families bully–and sadly, even Christians bully.

Bullying isn’t always violent, but it is always an attempt to control.  It manipulates, pressures, shames and intimidates.  It’s a learned behavior that destroys lives as it proclaims, “It’s all about ME!”

  • Bullies want their own way more they want anything else.
  • Bullies are bossy.
  • Bullies demand their own way when they want it & how they want it.
  • Bullies set themselves up as god.

We can stop bullying…and the creation of bullies…by living as a child of the Most High God!  God NEVER bullies, though the sad truth is many think God is a bully.  He is humble, generous and good.  His Way is the way to end bullying!  Jesus is that Way!

Of course, knowing the answer is way easier than living the answer!

Let the animals teach…
Heartsong Bunnies and Bullies

Bullying is a natural trait of….wait for it…BUNNIES!

I saw that roll of the eyes.  Stay with me.

Yes, bunnies are a prey animal. In nature, they are often on the receiving end of much more than bully-ing.  By nature, though, within their social structure, bullying is a way of life.

BIG Bunny

Bunny hierarchy is pretty interesting but visit this link if bunny details are your primary interest because this will just be a fly (well, hop) over.  While every colony (or warren) will have a Chief BIG BUNNY (BB), there are many BBs  in the bunny world. Every BB expects–demands–to be worshiped and obeyed by every other bunny.  The message from every BB (Big Bunny or Big Bully) is the same:  “This life–including your life–is all about me.”

Good Goals Gone Wrong

Even good goals get lost with a self-centered approach.  Respect & affection are the foundational values of bunny life.  Every demand a bunny makes is for one of those purposes.

Good goals pursued the wrong way stop being good.

Disobedience to bunny social rules is read as disrespect–and receives a punishment.  There are a lot of ways to offend a bunny.  Hopping by without speaking, attention to another bunny or being too familiar can generate a foot flick, an angry look, a growl, bite or complete shunning.  Taking offense is a bunny characteristic…it’s a bully characteristic too.

War in the Warren

Bunny bullying is pretty tame when they live in the wild.  But a bunny stuck with humans who don’t speak bunny can get pretty aggressive.  We humans are prone to disobeying bunny rules and creating resentments.   Bunnies hold a grudge, and just like with people, grudges create walls of separation.  Bully bunnies become so damaged, they do not want a relationship with people.  Sometimes, fear, anger or pride take over every other desire and their innate sociability is destroyed.  It is a sad state for the bunny-and its human family.

Does the Bullying problem in our world make more sense?

A World of Bullies

Self-centeredness and resentments are the commonality in warrens–and in our world.  Selfishness and unhealed, open wounds create bullies…and victims.  Unforgiveness is poison to yourself and the world around you!

The answer for both self-centeredness and resentments is the same:  

Jesus, the Healer….Jesus, the reconciler.

Like bunnies, we people are created to be social.  God so longed for relationship He created humanity.  But God humbly loves…He gave humanity the freedom to choose to love Him or not.  It is a fearsome choice with serious consequences.  While God is generous and good, He is also holy.  We are accountable for our choices.  Every choice is a choice of LIFE or DEATH.  Our choices are actions that produce one or the other.

Sadly, sometimes in our lives, greed, fear, anger and pride push God aside and we take matters in our own hands.  We choose our way instead of The Way.  We choose death.

Bullying is not solved by becoming a bigger bully.

Bullying stops when we refuse to bully–and when we refuse to be bullied–the same WAY Jesus responded.  Instead of taking offenses to heart and holding on to them, we must know who God is and who He created us (ourselves & our offenders) to be.

Victors not Victims

Knowing God as the Bible reveals Him to be gives us victorious courage.  We can walk through life secure in His care.  That does not mean we will never have trials.  Learning to trust God enough to die to self is a daily (moment-by-moment) necessity.

Jesus is the Way…and if we look at His life, we see His earthly life ended by bullies.  In America, that is not a common danger–though it is in some places and sometimes is true here.  Jim Elliott, who gave His life that others would have life, speaks eloquently to that concern:

Image result for he is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep

Finally, the cure to bullying is in knowing the value of every life.  The King of Kings died on the cross for individuals–not the masses.  He died not as a martyr but as a sacrifice with great purpose:  destroy the works of the devil and re-open the Way to relationship with the Father in heaven.  He gave His life that we would be able to live in union with God and others.  Our lives flow with that power and purpose when He lives in us.

Victors over Bullying

  • Victors want God’s way more they want anything else.
  • Victors are humble and meek.
  • Victors respect people’s right to choose.
  • Victors bow before their God and enjoy His presence.

What things tempt you to bully?

What ways are you bullied by others?

Will you choose The Way?

 

CLICK here for more info or to schedule a Heartsong visit.

 

 

 

 

The Great Barrier to Peace

One of the most difficult things in life is forgiving those who hurt us–or the ones we love.  Forgiveness is never for the offender, though.  Forgiveness frees us!  I am excited to share another ‘taste’ of the spiritual journaling book.

Working through Forgiveness

Forgiveness allows us to LIVE the Gospel in the most tangible way possible.  Practicing forgiveness is an immense privilege!  In it, we share the fellowship of Christ’s suffering:

Matthew 6:9-15 (v 12) _______________ says to forgive.

Mark 11:25 …so that Your Father in heaven may _________________.

Matthew 18:21-35  Forgiveness sets _________________.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 Prevents ______________ from gaining a foothold.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Measure of the _____________ I have received.

Romans 8:28 All of life is Father-filtered.  All works for the _________!

Now even with all those encouragements, forgiveness is hard!  One technique which helps is learning to separate the person from the sin.  Jesus did it.  On the Cross–as He suffered and faced the horrifying time of separation from the Father, he said:

“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”  

The soldiers knew they were crucifying him, but they didn’t understand the fullness of their acts.  The same is true for those who hurt us (and those we hurt).  Mercy triumphs!

The details matter in forgiving.  Blanket statements will not suffice; be specific in forgiving:

“I forgive ______________ for ________________.”

Face the emotion(s) knowing there is nothing Jesus cannot heal.  A friend uses a rhyme that helps me in times of deep hurt:  “I will feel it because Jesus will heal it.”  

Allow yourself to feel the emotion and ask Jesus to come to it, through it and take it away.  Jesus is unchanging and His presence still heals.

When you have soaked in the beauty of Christ’s presence, you will see the past in a new light.  What had been hurt becomes a spot sweetened by the presence of God.  

Alongside that aspect is this: time and maturity offers a different perspective.  Sometimes a fresh perspective eliminates what had been a wound.  In either scenario, awareness of the presence of God brings light to darkness.  

Allowing the past to have a hold on you negates the work of the Cross.  There is nothing Jesus has not atoned for…the price has been paid.  

 

Fresh Start

I actually love the week in-between the Christmas and New Year celebrations.   The emphasis on true love–agape, sacrificial love–is the perfect backdrop for the New Year.  And the New Year doesn’t feel like starting over…it feels like a fresh start.  And it is!  The truth is every day is fresh and new.

We don’t need the calendar to move us forward…but it sure does help focus eyes on the future, doesn’t it?

Today–the last day of the year–is the perfect time to put everything at the foot of the Cross.  2482236610_4c2d16c398_z (283x267)

Box it all up! The good and the bad and put it at the foot of the cross.Box it all up! The good and the bad and put it at the foot of the cross.

AND REMEMBER WHAT THE CROSS GIVES IN RETURN!

Ephesians 1:7 is a great verse to go to for that reminder!  IN HIM, we have forgiveness of sins and redemption through His blood according to the riches of God’s Grace.  

Think about what that means.  In Christ, we are secure and significant.  We are citizens of heaven.  We have a spirit of power and love.  We have all the grace and mercy we need–just for the asking!  God chose us!  He is at work completing what He began in us!  doesn’t that make you excited for the new year…and for each new day in it?

May you shine for Him in incredible new ways in the coming year!  He has equipped you…use what He has given and rejoice in Him!

Come back tomorrow for one of my favorite tips on growing in faith!

Giving the wounds away

Romel Your Tears

Romel
Your Tears

Have you ever been wounded by the words or actions of another?  Of course, you have.  It is a part of life.  There is an old adage that is heart-breakingly true:  “Hurt people hurt people.”  Those wounds we receive from others are passed on…sometimes with intention, often without our even noticing. It does not have to be.

Every sinful action has already been paid for…my actions and those done by others to me.  I do not need to bear the cost–nor do you!  Jesus was made sin for us…that we might be His righteousness.  It is the most unfair trade in eternity and our power source.  When we give the wounds we receive to Him, He transforms them.

The wounds that slice open our soul–even our spirit–became vessels of healing for others when we hand the wound to him and receive the payment he made.  In my deepest hurts, I have needed a visual reminder.  I may meditate upon the Cross of Christ–picturing myself under it as His blood covers me.  I may write out my pain and even burn the written words as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.  Jesus paid it all…don’t pay a debt that has been paid.

For a deeper look at this subject, I invite you to visit read Is here any hope for healing? 

There is a glory story in your hurt!  Can you see it?  Will you share it that Jesus will get the glory?

Faith Story: Seeing His Glory In a Shattered Home

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Psalms 37:5

The devil specializes in sneak attacks. A deacon, a Sunday school teacher and husband to a faithful women’s leader, Jim never saw the battle line forming. In fact, his plans included only rejoicing and celebrating. Having renewed their vows at a recent anniversary celebration, marriage woes seemed the last of his worries. Returning from a spiritually uplifting Men’s Retreat, Jim thought the weekend only held a celebration of his birthday. Instead, it marked the beginning of a very fierce, painful battle.

Years of unresolved heart issues exploded for Jim’s wife; she left their marriage to begin a new life with a friend of Jim. Devastation, depression and desperate confusion marked Jim’s days. Victory in the early days of the battle was simply mustering the courage to face a new day. The promises of God seemed distant, but they were his lifeline. Jim says of that time, “I clung to the promise in Psalms 37 that if I committed my way to God, He would act. He has; but not in the ways I wanted Him to and not at the speed I wanted. I would never have chosen this, but without it, I would never have known God as I do. He has kept His promises.”

His wife’s decision irrevocably altered the structure of Jim’s life. An empty home, strained family relations and gatherings, difficulty with continually encountering the co-worker and disruption in the church family all followed her choice. Jim stepped down from leadership in the church and eventually sought a job that kept him from the loneliness of home more consistently. The scriptures he had taught for so long sometimes seemed to mock him…the promises felt empty and the heartache overwhelming. Yet, he faithfully sought biblical counsel from pastors, family and friends’ and pressed on. Time passed bringing new understandings, but not the deeply desired restoration of the marriage. Throughout the battle, Jim sought and shared glimpses of God’s hand; he was a faithful, albeit broken, witness for God.

lonely

In marriage, Jim had been controlling; the concept of forgiving infidelity beyond the scope of his world. Yet in his heartache, he came face-to-face with the reality of the pain of love willing to forgive. He felt, too, the pain of that willingness rejected. Gradually he began to see the glory of Jesus Christ in an entirely new dimension. Recognizing the cost of forgiveness and the pain of rejection, he could not help but be awed at the marvelous, perseverant love of God. His heart bowed in humble victory before God’s incredible love.

Understanding in such a personal way is a suffering that Jim does not wish on anyone, but grasping the preciousness of Christ is a privilege he does not dismiss. His victory did not look like he expected; he thought that his initial commitment to God would be the key to restoring his marriage. Instead, it was the key to expanding his experience of God.

The victories in our Christian life do not transform us into picture-perfect Normal Rockwell prints. Sin, broken-ness and rejection wound souls…both those who hurt and those who are hurt suffer. Healing in Christ is one person at a time, one life at a time. We cannot be healed for another but we can encourage another to seek healing. Victory stories are not about perfect people; they are about our perfect God. Give Him the glory, great things He has done and will do!