“Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.” Psalm 35:19 NIV
Have you ever been bullied? Did you have a sense that those around you were a bit treacherous? I think our natural instinct is to become fearful and defensive in those situations.
When I was in middle school, there was a girl in my gym class that bullied me. She began picking on me in private and then it became more public. It was mostly verbal with an occasional push or shove. I could hear her talking about me loudly to others as I would walk by.
I made up my mind to be consistently nice…not just to her but to everyone. I smiled every day. I greeted everyone I came across every day. I went out of my way in the hallways when I passed others to wave and smile when we made eye contact.
After months of this, she finally stopped me one day after class. She confessed that she had thought I was fake and too good to be true. As she had watched me she saw what I had hoped for: that no matter how she or anyone else behaved I would treat them with kindness and respect. I simply wanted to be a ray of light.
We became friends. We didn’t hang out after school, but at school we became team mates on the high school volley ball team and we could count on each other. We laughed together. We joked and poked at each other.
What I didn’t know is that she had a very abusive home life. One evening after school she went home and placed a gun in her mouth and shot herself on the family living room couch. I had no idea what she had been battling at home. She had kept that private. I did not know all the pain that she was dealing with inside.
When I read today’s scripture in Psalms, it reminds me to lift these kinds of behaviors up to God. My mission here is to be a light. God knows and sees everything that every person is dealing with. Sometimes just being a light is enough to turn their day around. It makes me think of Jesus.
Father, help me to be more like Jesus every day. Teach me when to speak and when to be quiet. Give me the discernment to see what others need and give me ears to hear. Always let me be a reflection of Your love light.
Matthew 14:25-32, Acts 23:9-23, Philippians 4:9