The incident happened this Summer while extended family of mine were on vacation. My niece’s teenage son observed a group of teenagers encircled around a little boy…shoving him roughly from one teen to another…all the while taunting him. He felt compelled to step in, so he quietly walked up, put his arm around the boy and asked what they were doing to his little brother. He stood there, firmly telling them to stop and leave… using his sheer size as intimidation…until the gang broke up and moved off. As this young man got done recounting this story to me, I asked him why he thought kids bully others. His insight I thought was remarkable. He told me kids who bully are filled with anger and hurt, and they take out that pain on others. I can dare say as adults, we all fall into two camps…either we were once bullied as a child…or we were that bully. But now with Social Media, the cruelty that can be inflicted by those just wanting to be mean is enormous. As school starts for the year, have a discussion with your kids around the dinner table about bullying…all that it encompasses…and how it feels to be bullied. That just because someone else is cruel doesn’t mean you have to join in. And that being a good friend and loving one another will make a difference.
Moses led the Hebrew Children out of Egypt…but none of them ever saw the Promised Land due to their unbelief. Instead, they wandered in the desert for 40 years…going around and around the same mountain. Doubt and unbelief wastes time. God tells us to do something, but out of unbelief, we say “No!” So God sends us around the mountain to think about it. Soon, His tells us one more time the thing He wants us to do. If we again say “No!”, guess where He sends us…wandering around that same mountain! Unbelief wastes time…precious time that we could be changing lives for Christ if we had said “Yes!” the first time.
A victim mindset builds an altar to all the bad things that have happened and worships there…harping on the past and paying more attention to it than to the future. A victim mindset is put in place early on when others show sympathy, so we continue to seek that support and favor…using our past to gain attention. Soon we are defined only by our past…and not of how God is moving in our present. A victim mindset chains us to the past… never able to move ahead, and break free. For every time those old hurtful memories are brought up and dwelled upon…we’re victimized again.
There’s been many times in my life when I’ve bared my soul to the Lord and complained loudly! I’ve spilled out my frustrations as well as my tears before Him…knowing He would be the only one that could fully understand my distress. And God does. There is nothing you’re going through today that has caught God by surprise…nothing He doesn’t already know about. The old Hymn, “What a Friend we have in Jesus” is so true…for when there’s no one else you feel you can confide in…Jesus is always there.
Last month my son and his wife flew to Haiti and brought home their newly adopted daughter. It was sad to see from the start that she had never played with toys in the orphanage. A few weeks later, I received a picture of her smiling with a dark-skinned doll in her arms. I called my daughter-in-law to find out the details of this transformation…and just where this doll had come from. When their other daughter was in kindergarten, (she’s 12 now), she had asked for an American Girl Doll for Christmas. But instead of choosing a look-alike doll with long blonde hair and blue eyes, she chose a dark-skinned doll. A doll that she then graciously gave to her new little sister to play with…and a doll she could call her own.
As it tells us in Romans 8:34, at this very moment, Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf. Jesus is our advocate…one who comes forward on behalf and as the representative for another. He is then also our intercessor and substitute…standing in our place before God…intervening in our defense. We have no greater advocate than Jesus…no greater champion and friend.
Jesus saw this blind beggar as an opportunity to heal a broken human being. But His disciples only saw him as a chance to debate the beggar’s situation…totally ignoring the man…they gathered around, talking about him rather than to him. As Believers, we love to talk about ministry work, out reach into the community, and other things we should be doing for the Lord. We’ll debate, plan, and call together committees…always talking about but never actually getting around to doing. The Lord is calling all of us to personal ministry…to rolling up our sleeves and ministering to that blind beggar sitting in front of us. He wants us to stop just talking about it and start doing something.