For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it. To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.Titus 1:7-9, 15,16 HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
If we look around us and pay attention to how people act towards others we can see how some people attempt to bully those who are weaker and smaller than they are. We see people who think because of their “material wealth” they have a right to bully others into accommodating them. And now, more than ever, we see people attempting to bully others through the judicial system. Every time someone wants to draw attention to themselves and make people accept them–they take someone else into court. There are probably more frivolous lawsuits filed in recent years than ever before.
Bullies are arrogant and overbearing and will threaten others, promoting violence, when people don’t cave to their demands. We see them in schools, on playgrounds, on the streets, in our homes, in all of society and in our churches. The bullies are those who are quick-tempered, undisciplined, and narcissistic–because they only care about what they want, not what is best for others.
If we don’t recognize them for who they are and stand up to them–they continue to bluster their way through life–until they meet the one person who forces them to back down--not by violence as is their method, but by sheer determination to not be intimidated by the bully.
We encourage children in schools to stand up to the bullies and to report them and we also encourage students not to become bullies. The sooner they recognize their behavior, the sooner it can be overcome. We encourage parents not to become bullies with their children but to learn to listen and discuss what is appropriate and what is not. We encourage spouses to learn the art of compromise so homes can run smoothly and no one resorts to domestic violence. But what do we do with the bully in the pulpit?
Any time a leader–in any venue–has to resort to bullying tactics they reveal their own insecurities within themselves and in their position. True, Godly leaders never have to resort to bullying because they act on The Word of God. However, if they do not know The Word, they cannot act on The Word and this is how we discern who is in the pulpit.
When the man or woman of God entreats others to help them accomplish something, they know how to explain why something needs to be done–the advantages and disadvanages of the task and the end result. They don’t browbeat people into doing anything and they certainly don’t threaten (and I’ve seen it all) people into doing what they want.
There are a number of issues that could be addressed when it comes to recognizing bullies, but the point I really want to make is this–when we are secure in the knowledge of who we are, what God has called us to do, and know we operate with God’s wisdom in all things, we will not succumb to the bullying tactics used by others to coerce us into doing what they want rather than doing what God wants us to do.
Know the bullies when you see them and stand up to them with Holy Spirit guiding your every move.