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.
Those trolls are just lurking out there, watching for someone to bully. Esp. if you identify with one of the groups they hate. Christians are easy to hate. And they catch you unawares.
My last encounter came from a guy who immediately started spouting the typical anti-Christian lines. I first tried to be rational with him, that he must have misunderstood. Then he upped the attack, throwing in some foul language to reduce me to a quivering mass of incoherence. I realized his regurgitations came from the enemy. My response must have been spot on b/c I laid a heavy dose of all Jesus had done for him and that He understood the guy’s desire for acceptance. Laid it on with a trowel. He didn’t want to hear any more of that Jesus-love. Never heard another word from him.
We know we’re on track when we get the attack.
I’m always amazed at how much power is available to me, little ol’ me, from the throne of the Almighty.
You are one of God’s chosen ones, Mary. Look at all you’ve done, taken on, servant of the Lord. I’m reminded of Elijah on Mt. Carmel–defeated a host of Baal’s prophets in spectacular fashion (I Ki 18), then ended a multi-year drought. All in the power of the Lord. But he didn’t realize how vulnerable he was after that string of victories, and she-devil Jezebel sent word that she was going to kill him. Deeply depressed, Elijah wished to die. Forgotten were the victories at Zaraphath, Mt. Carmel, over the drought. Well, you know how the narrative goes, Mary.
Oh. Yes. I’ll put my soapbox away. Thank you for your transparency. Susan’s words hit the mark.
Good word, Sam, and great reminders. Thank you. And sorry you had to walk through your own cyber stress.
Thanks for this Mary. Praying you indeed will put the unkind, maybe even hateful words out of your mind…and replace them with the Word of God. He is so good to help us with that, giving us peace of mind, encouraging us, even giving us back our (His) joy! We live in a world that has become more hateful and mean, but where there is darkness, Jesus shines His Light even brighter!
My favorite passage to counter my dwelling on the mean is, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think on such things” Philippians 4:8.
p.s. I am so enjoying your re-story podcasts. Well done!
Thanks Susan. Appreciate your words, and the scripture reminder.