I have a little friend who had a traumatic experience the first day of the new school year. There is a girl that has been bullying her for quite some time. She took on that bad role right from the start. My friend has food allergies so she has to take her own lunch to school. This did not sit well with the bully, so she immediately started her campaign by making fun of my little friend, saying that she was going to beat her head with a baseball bat and then cut it off with a chain saw. Then she started asking the other kids if they had a chain saw she could borrow.
This is a form of persecution. And many children in our schools are subject to it. We know from what’s happened the last few years that bullying can have such horrific effects that the kids take their life because they cannot handle it anymore.
It has spread across the borders. So much that one of my friends in Peru says they have adopted the word “bullying.” In Peru they speak Spanish but they are now using the English word for this “persecution” going on in the schools.
As I was reading the Word and praying this morning, Romans 12:14 caught my eye. And I knew exactly what to write to my little friend. As a matter of fact, as soon as her mother told me of the incident, I started praying for the little “bully.” That is what I will tell my little friend that she should do, bless and wish well, pray for the girl that for a long time has been harassing her.
Check out these different versions of the text I’m referring to.
New International Version (NIV)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Wish only good for those who treat you badly. Ask God to bless them, not curse them.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them.
21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them.
New Century Version (NCV)
Wish good for those who harm you; wish them well and do not curse them.
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
And as for those who try to make your life a misery, bless them. Don’t curse, bless.
Bullying and harassment does not only go on in the schools. We can also experience it in the workplace. But the worse scenario is when it goes on in the home. The home should be a place where one can feel safe and accepted, no matter what. But even there, in many cases, there is persecution going on.
Many are persecuted for their faith. If that is your case, you are blessed. This is what Jesus said:
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Heed the Word of God in your life. If you are being harassed in some way, “Wish only good for those who treat you badly. Ask God to bless them, not curse them.”
Read the verses following verse fourteen, in the Easy-to-Read Version:
Wish only good for those who treat you badly. Ask God to bless them, not curse them. 15 When others are happy, you should be happy with them. And when others are sad, you should be sad too. 16 Live together in peace with each other. Don’t be proud, but be willing to be friends with people who are not important to others. Don’t think of yourself as smarter than everyone else.
17 If someone does you wrong, don’t try to pay them back by hurting them. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. 18 Do the best you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 My friends, don’t try to punish anyone who does wrong to you. Wait for God to punish them with his anger. In the Scriptures the Lord says,
“I am the one who punishes; I will pay people back.”
20 But you should do this:
“If you have enemies who are hungry,
give them something to eat.
If you have enemies who are thirsty,
give them something to drink.
In doing this you will make them feel ashamed.”
21 Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good.
That’s my prayer for you and me: that we will defeat evil by doing good.
Here are some other words of Jesus:
Matthew 5:43-48 (ERV)
Love Your Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. 45 If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. 46 If you love only those who love you, why should you get a reward for that? Even the tax collectors do that. 47 And if you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than anyone else. Even the people who don’t know God are nice to their friends. 48 What I am saying is that you must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Pray for those who treat you badly. That is what I want to tell my little friend, to pray for the girl who for a long time has been harassing her.
Am I willing to pray for those who treat me badly? Are you willing to pray for those that treat you badly? That’s the Jesus way!