It’s true there are Christians who behave like bullies. Some bullies are not aware they are bullying. Other bullies are taught to be bullies by their churches and bible schools under the guise of debate.
One Christian brother told me that he learned debate techniques in a School of Ministry which practiced aggressively, combative techniques. “I sliced and diced with my tongue, winning all but one of those debates” he told me.
Some Christians simply enjoy debating scripture and theology in order to share, and understand each other. Most of these Brothers and Sisters are well studied, and informative without negative effect.
Then there are Christians so irrationally aggressive and combative that they bully others when discussing doctrine. It seems to coincide with a stridently black & white theology which interprets scripture literally. Their mantra is a never changing God, which results in a rigid, forceful God. Of course, layering a rigid characteristic onto a Loving God makes Him oddly schizophrenic. But His ways being above our ways, results in a theology which must be accepted blindly without understanding. They’ll fight to the death for the right to keep God mysteriously in the dark, and dare anyone to question this scenario.
Straying into different theology will produce a strange smile on their face. It’s a smile that doesn’t reach their eyes. Then love is extended momentarily before they pop the question which leads to the pounce. You will be fooled into thinking there is a sincere interest in fostering understanding. But the question only begins the theological dance which progresses quickly to a box step of undermining, insulting and demeaning phrases.
If you are caught off guard in defending your convictions, then beware. Bully’s demand proof, and Christian bully’s demand scripture. They quote scripture fluidly, and have it packaged nicely in outlines with memorized techniques to prove you wrong.
A bully’s black & white interpretation of scripture is awash with theological “spin,” presented as “normal,” and “correct”. And when they read the Word of God, it is most assuredly exactly how God meant it to be read. If you read it differently, you will be ignored or worse, berated farther.
Loving verses of scripture are forgotten while laws float high before your eyes. “The Word is clear! This is what it says, and you can’t change it just because you don’t like it!”
Historical research, discoveries of ancient culture patterns, comparisons of multiple translation variations, and a plethora of other study is tossed aside carelessly by a bully as irrelevant, unnecessary, and without effect. Your different ideas go in that pile, too.
Your experiences of the Spirit, and His miraculous revelations also go in that pile. They they are whisked away with the Bully’s little broom of off-handed explanations about coincidence, quirks of nature, and simple childish imagination. (Have you ever been so completely irrelevant as in this moment?)
Underlying a Bully’s tirades are thinly veiled personal accusations which will undermine your self-esteem, and leave you without defense. After all, you are obviously without holiness, and an empty headed, selfishly motivated fool.
Don’t be surprised at the tears flowing down your face right about now, and the breaking sound around your heart. These wounds are real. But I affirm that they are not being brought upon your head by Father in His effort to correct you.
However, you might get lucky in this moment if there is a bit of heart inside your Bully. The inquisition may die down as your woundedness is surprisingly discovered. However, don’t be fooled. Your tears will only be fuel for more blame on your doorstep. “This is good discussion that brings understanding. Why do you get so emotional when no one is trying to hurt you? We want to understand you, but you must back up the things you say, with scripture.”
By the time you limp into the corner to lick your wounds, and begin the process of forgiveness, remember this – Jesus knows exactly what is happening to you. He was crucified, just as you are being now. And there is amazing healing in His wings.
Praying Medic shares Father’s magnificent emotional healing, in his article “Healing Anger, Bitterness, and Resentment”. Check it out. It is valuable material in your arsenal of survival tools.
Once healing happens you will be Resurrected again to Father’s Joy and Peace. The whole process may surprise you in it’s resemblance to Jesus’s death and Resurrection.
This new era, the birthing of The Kingdom of God on the earth, clearly puts us squarely in front of some giants in the land. And like Goliath, they may have been around scaring people for some time, but Holy Spirit still holds the keys to overcome them.
Certain Brothers and Sisters believe there are evil spirits, principalities and powers responsible for bullying behavior. I’m not adverse to that explanation, I simply haven’t had much experience in that area. They may be correct. I’ve certainly witnessed how reasoning doesn’t penetrate the mind of a bully. Logic has no effect, and a careful attempt to share a new concept with patience and peace, seems to boomerang hopelessly into the air. Their eyes glass over as they engage in a ruthless attack.
In my usual style, I appealed to Father for help in my Bully situation. His first response was “Step out of this quickly, and let Peace reign on the battlefield.” So at His direction I told my attacker that “I’m done here” and didn’t respond again.
For a couple days the atmosphere was quiet and calm. Then Holy Spirit said, “Now tell them you have searched for common ground and found one – Jesus is King of my heart and yours.”
That resulted in a long creed, of sorts, being shot back to me as a testament of faith. In this legally accurate statement, I couldn’t argue any particular point, however, I secretly smiled, knowing that Holy Spirit won’t be kept in a box with the lid shut, no matter how Holy and “righteous” it appears. But I left that revelation for Him to share in His time.
Weapons were sheathed, and the battlefield filled with hugs and kisses.
In the end, I reminded them that my research and studies have up-ended most traditional theology, therefore I do randomly spout things that may stretch their spirit to new lengths. However, I never have antagonistic goals. I simply can’t wear duct tape all the time.
I also assured them that I don’t expect agreement. After all, they would have to study the same things I study to arrive at the conclusions I have. Plus it simply isn’t necessary for us to believe exactly the same way. Heck, I expect my own theology to continue evolving.
I simply want to express my viewpoint freely without retaliation, and bullying.
They agreed. We all sighed in relief, and smiled sincerely, and gratefully.
It felt like a new dawn had risen on my land, and I rejoiced in great hope of Father’s Peace, and His Joy that I’m a little wiser for the experience.
He has the key to Peace, and Joy, and Unity.