I recently had an experience where I was bullied. Yep, at 49 years of age. This didn’t happen in a school yard (because that would be weird). It happened in cyberspace.
The words flung my way were malicious, judgmental, and graceless.
And although I made a point to delete them, I still feel the weight of the bully words.
So I prayed for the person behind the pixels, prayed for peace, prayed for wholeness, prayed for healing. That lightened my heart a bit. Deleting helped too. As did prayer from my writing prayer circle.
But then I realized something sad about myself.
Even though I don’t think I would eviscerate someone like that so pointedly, and send the missive over the internets, I still sometimes think these kind of bully thoughts. You’ve read that I’ve bullied myself. And part of why these words stung is because they resembled my own thoughts toward myself. In a way, they felt like truth, which further plunged me into myself, re-bullying me for not being good, right, correct, perfect, loving, etc.
Then my next thought came: Besides bullying myself, I have absolutely bullied others in my mind. I have had sarcastic, jarring judgments float through my mind. Instead of taking those captive, I’ve allowed myself to be captivated by them. Jealous thoughts. Envious thoughts. Judgmental thoughts.
I remembered this haunting scripture:
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:2
My cyber bully only returned the favor, exposing my own bullied thoughts toward others.
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So I pray.
Oh dear Jesus, I know I was wrong in doing this. Please forgive me for thinking ill of others, for judging them by mean standards, for not assuming the best in others. Free me to have lovely, sweet, positive thoughts, to look on the bright side, to applaud the achievements and victories of others. I don’t want to linger in the land of mean. I don’t want to live a small, petty life. Forgive me. Clean my heart and mind. Holy Spirit, catch me when I walk down the path of snide judgment. I so need You. Amen.
Next time you experience the unkindness of another, say a prayer–for them to be set free from bitterness, for you to refrain from entertaining bully thoughts, and for all of us to learn the art and craft of love in an increasingly loveless world.