If you are bullying others…
Last week we considered how bullies abuse both people of God and the power that belongs only to Jesus, which he earned through his perfect life and sacrificial service. This week we will look at two other aspects involved in bullying: its extent and its judge.
The Extent of Bullying: 1=10
“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it,” All of the Ten Commandments are linked together. As James wrote above, if you break one, you break them all (Jas. 2:10). What bullies need to understand is that the act of harassment is not simply an act that violates one law. It is an act that violates every law. (See figure 1) Further, in violating every law, it violates what the Law points to, namely the holiness of God.
Potentially, one could argue that a better name for bullies could possibly be “murderers.” As you can see in Figure 1, one broken command is linked to all others. So, along with murderer, we could also add coveter, liar and slanderer, thief and robber, abuser of both relationships and time, one who brings shame instead of joy, scoffer, idolater, and ultimately, God-hater. “Bullying” is much worse than what the word makes it out to be. And what is true of bullying is just as true for every other sin. I write this not to shame or guilt bullies into anything, but to remind them that what may seem to be a little thing, is actually monumental to a holy God. We must have our eyes opened to the fact that sin is not a little thing in the eyes of an infinitely holy God, but is instead an infinite offense. One violation to His standard, in fact, violates all His standards, and does so infinitely. Therefore, if you call God your Creator and name Jesus Christ at your Savior, it would be good for you to think on these things, and not suppress them any longer. Spend time thinking over passages like Romans 1:16-32, 1 John 1:5-2:11, and James 2:8-13. Pray that the Lord would open your heart to understand these truths and ask that He make them applicable to you, that you might truly live out the purpose for which you were made.
“There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” In this passage, James addresses some Christians who are showing partiality to the wealthy and neglecting the poor. This led to many in the various churches getting angry, even to the point of fighting and quarreling with each other! James even has the audacity to call them “adulteresses” because of their passion for worldly things over their passion for godly things. Yet, James does not leave them with such a pronouncement of guilt without leading them to a solution. It would be absurd for a doctor to tell a patient they have a treatable kind of cancer, but then fail to mention the treatment. How much more absurd would it be for James to tell his readers of their spiritual cancer without pointing to an eternal solution for their lives! In this cluster of twelve verses in chapter four, James leads them through three phases. First, he lets them take a good, painful look in the mirror to show them the extent of their sin. The cares and stuff of the world blinded them to seeing their ugliness and wickedness. Sin was destroying them (4:1-4). But then, he reminds them of the word of God. Specifically, he reminds them that their life is not their own, but was a gift from God, for which he yearns jealously (4:5), and that God gives a grace that is greater than all their sin (4:6). Because of these Scriptural truths, James, thirdly, calls them to repentance (4:7-12). Specifically, James calls them to submit to God, to draw near to God, to turn their evil behavior into sincere repentance, and adds practical ways to change their behavior in verse eleven. At the end of this lies one very important reminder, “there is only one lawgiver and judge.” It’s as if he is saying, “Remember, there is one far more powerful than you. His judgment is the one that counts. Remember.” While the thirst for power, self-esteem, self-image, and popularity is always tempting, we must remember that sinalways promises much (Gen. 3:6), and always delivers little (Gen. 3:7-10). We must not let temptation become so hungry that we sink our teeth into other people’s livelihood, and drain them like a parasite that we might have a more “fulfilled” life. Remember, there is only one, true judge. He is also redeemer. His judgment is the only one that matters.
Next week we will finish up this section of our blog by looking at one more aspect of bullying from the bully’s perspective: Jesus’ rescue for bullies.