At our last Tuesday night Wings of Hope meeting we were talking about bullying. Sharing how some of us experienced bullying when we we’re kids. We talked about how a lot of focus is on the concern for cyber-bullying, cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking these days.
I do think this is a big problem but I also think that the type of bullying that went on when I was a kid, when my parents were kids, grandparents were kids and so on is still a big problem for the today kid. I don’t want to down play the “tech” maltreatments kids are being faced with but I do want to point out that the stuff “that’s been going since the beginning of time” still merits conversation. The internet can be shut off. The pestering of a classmate or being singled out by a click/group can be extremely hard to get away from.
One of the hardest, cruel and most self destructive types of intimidations I recall was from those I called my friends. I have so many memories of being scared or crying and feeling belittled by people I made a point to hang out with. My need to fit in with a certain group was me setting myself up…in a way accepting this treatment as normal.
This didn’t end with adolescence…at times I caught it creeping back into my life. Not just with the company I keep but my family too. I sometimes let them demean my efforts, my future outlook or even my faith.
With all that life has handed me along the way I’m pleased to say that I’m a “glass is half full type person”. I wasn’t in my teens… far from it. I didn't learn how to look at the bright side of things until my early 20’s. For that matter, I had a bleeding ulcer at 13. But that’s a different story.
Realizing that I get to decide how to let myself be treated, what a true friend really is and that there’s always… I mean ALWAYS... at least two ways to look at a situation, positive or negative, was a big movement in my life. Realizing that these were the first steps in being the “real me.” Recognizing that liking THAT ME and having faith in THAT ME… I think, can only come after understanding and applying the "love yourself" concept. Again something that is always a work in process but the first step is finding that positive outlook on life.
Positivity is infectious, those that you want in your life will stay. Those that are not ready for the “feel good stuff” will fall off maybe to return later as they too start to want that sense of self contentment. Everyone has to experience an unbalance in their life to appreciate the work it takes to strive for good character.
Back to the old school bullying. Girls, boys, friends… they come in and out of your life! Those that you call your friends now may not be a part of your life in the years to come. The question is... are those you call friends good for you? Do they help you or hold you back from the person you want to be? The lesson I had to learn was it's better to have only a few genuine friends then a "mess" of people in your life.
~It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
Sunday, Auguest 7th, 2011 w/ Pastor Paul
Our Word for this week is: “direction and identity”
Scripture Text: John 8:14 (Amplified Bible)
“I know where I came from and I know where I am going.”
Our Focus: Isn’t it a terrible feeling to get lost in an unfamiliar area or city where we have never been before? Since nothing is familiar, more wandering won’t help us find some place we recognize and regain our bearings. The more we twist and turn the more lost we become, soon losing all sense of direction or certainty of even where we are or how we got there. We may know where we were and where we need to go, but we have no idea how to get from where we were to where we want to be.
Sometimes we may feel lost about who we are. Where we are, is never as important as who we are. Life seems to lose a needed sense of direction.
Christ never had an identity crisis because He was always certain about His origin and His destiny, and confident meanwhile with His Father’s character and purpose. The compass for His life was His absolute certainty about the Father’s love. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (John 3:22). The Father sent Him; the Father was with Him; and the Father would receive Him home. Of that he was sure.
What is the compass for our lives? Where do we find our absolute when everything around us is relative and changing? Where do we look for the fixed point of reference, the North Star from which we can surely and safely navigate our paths?
Such comfortableness about His identity gave Jesus freedom to do the will of God without being so self-occupied. Ever marveled at the scene in the Upper Room (John 13), where Jesus took the role of a house servant and humbly knelt to wash the disciples’ feet? Now that’s a very real and secure sense of identity.
People’s opinions, good or bad, did not sway Jesus. When the devil tried to tempt Him in the wilderness (Matthew 4:11), Jesus was still sure. When the religious did not believe Him (Mark 3:21-23), He still was sure. When the crowd tried to force Him to be their king (John 12:12-17), He still was sure. When the disciples swore their allegiance unto death (Matthew 26:31-35), Jesus was no more sure. When the disciples all fled in fear from Him (Matthew 26:56), Jesus was no less sure.
When Jesus asks, “Who do men say that I am?” (Luke 9:18-19) He is neither unsure nor needing affirmation. Christ wants His followers to be as sure as He is, about His Father, and therefore, about themselves.
Our prayer for this week is God, help us to live our life in a way that does not gratify our flesh, but rather feeds our spirit. You have given us opportunity to make a positive difference in this degenerate world. May we, by word and example, bring light into this darkened, sin-indulged world. May love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, be evident in our lives so that these attitudes bring about good deeds. Others will look at our lives and see beyond our human frailties to recognize the Spirit of God that is at work in us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen.