Bullies use the same techniques.
If I can't destroy you, I'll cripple you.
If I can't cripple you, I'll hurt you.
If I can't hurt you, I'll slow you down.
If I can't slow you down, I'll gossip.
If no one listens, I'll pick on someone else.
These interpersonal attacks on our character are inspired by demonic forces strengthened by strongholds in the mind. Each attack feels like a bully picking up a stone and throwing it at you. The closer the person is to you, the more it hurts. A stranger can do little damage, but a close friend can deal a lethal blow.
As I faced betrayal, bullying and accusations this last year, I reminded myself over and over again that Jesus faced the same things, only worse. He sympathizes with my struggles and prays for me. I have found much comfort by meditating upon these truths from the book of Hebrews.
The saddest part of all of it was when the church picked up their own stones and threw them at me. And after being pelted in the eye, with blood trickling down my face, they asked me to defend myself or be condemned.
I was innocent, but I refused to defend myself from the basis of being guilty until proven innocent.
And so I didn't.
I cried instead.
But before you think me weak, let me finish, because I didn't stop there.
I used my authority against those leaders of the sheep who think they can use their position to back me in a corner and force me to submit to them. I prayed against them, calling on the Judge of heaven and earth to judge them for their sins that they may get what they deserve. I prayed like David in the psalms, asking God to deliver me from my enemies and bring righteousness back into the church.
And then without missing a breath, my heart connected with the Son of David who prayed for his enemies on the cross. I blessed each stone wielder ready for their next assault, even asking God to increase their prosperity, knowing full well that both of these prayers were contradictory in nature.
I want to encourage anyone facing betrayal, false accusation and bullying, no matter if it's from a friend, pastor or enemy: Eventually, every bully runs out of stones.
With each assault on my character, I was tempted to defend myself and increase the drama surrounding me, but instead I took the blows in silence, looking to God who is my defender and general. When each person ran out of stones, that bully desperately sought new sources, pelting me repeatedly, hoping to destroy me. That is the spiritual battle taking place, often unaware to the bully.
It feels as though those stones will never end and they keep getting faster and heavier over time, but praise God I stayed my ground, and as that bully sought the next stone, he came up empty.
There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!
And praise God it was the church that came to my defense! God knows I never asked for it, but they defended me anyway, and the power of those gossips and lies fell on deaf ears. There was no sting in their words. It was finished. The victory was mine!
If you're going through the battle, keep your eyes fixed on the Lord! He fights for you and in the end, God will right every wrong. You don't need an apology from another person or a written record of your justification. All you need is to be right in the sight of God.
Gossips will come and go, but our Father in heaven is true. He binds up the brokenhearted and comforts the downcast. He is within us and beside us and above us. He is trustworthy and merciful.
Praise God who lives forever. Praise His glorious name!