Luke 12:4-7 (MSG)
4-5 “I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
6-7 “What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.
Matthew 4:5-7 (ESV)
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Mark 8:34-35 (ESV)
34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
Who’s ever been “bullied”? I think the term has changed in intensity some over the past few years as we worry about “safe zones” and not offending ANYONE. We’re all expected to walk on eggshells lest we say something that someone will find objectionable. Thbbft as Bill the Cat would say. Thbbft.
One of my best life lessons came from bullying. I was the target in 6th grade. The guy kicked my butt consistently, until the day I kicked his. Game over, never had to fight again. My character changed in that I didn’t have to live in the shadow of anyone ever. The whole experience was a character builder and I didn’t need a freaking nanny (parent, teacher, school, government) to help me figure out what I needed to do or protect me.
There are lots of bullies out there for lots of religious organizations. Some are focused on God, some are focused on issues (like BLM, PETA, Green Peace, Freedom From Religion, Planned Parenthood, etc.). At the end of the day, bullies are bullies and will use force and violence to silence a dissenting voice. So what? Fear nothing. Sure, they can hurt you, kill you, but then what? And so what? The end game is eternity, not here.
Christ calls us to live in love, to live a life that is intentionally pure, a life of service through love, in all we do, in all we are. What happens to us here doesn’t matter, but what we do here does. Walk the walk Christ taught us, nothing less.
Test God if you like, He knows your heart like He knows every hair on your head. Lose your self focused life so that you can gain a God focused life. Stand up to the bullies and stand for “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).