Lessons for Leaders and Small Groups and All the Other Stuff We Are Up To Here.
Today we will start a two week series on bullying. Our first session will help us think about bullying in our contexts by considering how our lives meets the stories of our scriptures in relation to bullying.
Next week we will explore more ways of dealing with bullying in our lives.
Excerpt from Obadiah:
“On that day you stood there and didn’t do anything.
Strangers took your brother’s army into exile.
Godless foreigners invaded and pillaged Jerusalem.
You stood there and watched.
You were as bad as they were.
You shouldn’t have gloated over your brother
when he was down-and-out.
You shouldn’t have laughed and joked at Judah’s sons
when they were facedown in the mud.
You shouldn’t have talked so big
when everything was so bad.
You shouldn’t have taken advantage of my people
when their lives had fallen apart.
You of all people should not have been amused
by their troubles, their wrecked nation.
You shouldn’t have taken the shirt off their back
when they were knocked flat, defenseless.
And you shouldn’t have stood waiting at the outskirts
and cut off refugees,
And traitorously turned in helpless survivors
who had lost everything.”
Have you ever been bullied or taken advantage of?
Have you ever bullied or taken advantage of anyone?
How does it feel to think about these things?
Where do you see bullying? At school? In your neighborhood? Online?
Begin with your own life. How will your foundations handle crashing waves?
Sometimes we must be strong and attempt to withstand storms. However, we don’t have to do that alone. Starting…hopefully…here with your church family and at home with your parents and siblings you can find love, hope, and support.
This week…analyze your life along with the lives of those around you. Notice we said analyze…not judge. Often we lean in toward judging others while not thinking of our own failings. Brokenness comes from brokenness. Everyone’s story starts somewhere when it comes to hurt through things like bullying. Most bullies are not bullies by choice and even more rarely are victims choosing to be victims. We are all impacted by decisions. So…starting there…how can we meet God in our brokenness and move forward?
Let us end our time in prayer as we ask for God’s guidance in these thoughts. Next week we will explore more on where to go with God in relation to bullying or negative treatment of/by others.
Genesis 27 - Jacob and Esau and Jacob’s betrayal of family rights.
What kind of impact do you think these actions have on the family?
Genesis 25:19-34 - Jacob and Esau’s birth.
The impact of influence is very powerful in the scripture stories as it is in our lives.
How have negative experiences in relationships impacted you over time?
Think about your negative experiences with friends or peers (enemies?) as well as your negative experiences with your family. We all have impact points whether big or small.
The scriptures we’ve looked at point a lot at the impact pride can have on us.
Do you ever feel that your pride hurts you?
Do you ever feel as if you make poor decisions because you don’t want to fail or you don’t want to come across as imperfect?
Would you consider that to be the perspective of a bully?
As we ponder these questions…consider this…
At the start of each day we all wake up to the same world. We all start with a fresh chance at something new…something better…
But we often get stuck leaning into the same good or bad habits of the day before. Very rarely are we able to make big impactful changes on the fly.
Imagine a crock pot and how it is meant to cook a meal over a full day. Now take that a step further and consider how some barbecue is cooked slowly for longer periods of time. Now go further to think of how things like honey are made or how your food you buy at the store actually gets to a point where you can actually eat it…from the farm or factory all the way to your table. Now look at that in reflection with these stories in the old testament that talk of families and nations. One decision didn’t lead to the negative things we see. One decision didn’t lead to the solution either.
We must consider what slow and simple steps we can take away from the things that drive us down and move towards the little steps we can take to the things that lift us up.
As we completed our last series on reading the Bible we saw the idea presented to us that the Bible works in our hearts and minds over our lifetime. Where do you see the scriptures working in your heart and mind during this discussion about bullying and pain?
Think on how you might have been hurt in the past or even how you might have hurt someone else. What can you do to let go of that just a little bit today?
What can you do take steps towards redemption or freedom from the pain you’ve experienced?
What can you do to help create a world where we only love and care for each other?