1 Thessalonians 2:12 - Playground Bullies
1 Thessalonians 2:12 "We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory." (TEV)
I can still remember the two of them.......seeking me out on the playground only to bully me.......they called me names.......they pushed me down on the asphalt. They were in the eighth grade and I was in the seventh.
After lunch was over, and the noontime recess began, I would venture out on to the playground very tentatively.....constantly on the watch for those two boys. Once I found where they were, I avoided that area....all the time watching where the two of them were.....if they made a move in my direction, I would move away to somewhere safe.
This obviously made an impression on me back then. But as I grew up memories of these two boys dimmed. And I totally forgot about them until I attended my 20-year high school reunion. After I moved around the room and renewed some acquaintances, I turned suddenly to acknowledge a greeting I heard..............and there he was..........one of my elementary school bullies with his hand outstretched, waiting to shake my hand.
I don't remember how I handled the whole thing other than I was literally shocked that this guy was there in front of me. I shook his hand, but I still couldn't rid myself of the uneasy feeling that this guy was only being pleasant to lure me in. And just as soon as I thought that, I reminded myself that this was not elementary school anymore.........but I still couldn't shake that feeling so when the first opportunity came I made my escape to the other side of the room.
I'd like another crack at this situation again because I feel I would handle it much differently. I don't know if I ever will, but in my stead I'm going to ask the Lord to minister to this fellow and the other one who bullied me so long ago.......to bring them the peace that He's brought me.
And it seems like I'm being tested a great deal.........by having to look past some behaviors that make it hard for me to like some people............ and make it difficult to reach out to them. But I want to be one who encourages.........one who comforts..........regardless of what treatment I get from them in return because I know this kind of mindset pleases God.
And it is *only* through His strength that I can accomplish it........because my flesh wants to go in the other direction most of the time...........to criticize...........to condemn............to distance myself from those I'm not comfortable with.
It is only through God that I can begin to do this............and it is because of Him and the way He lived His Life when with us, that I know this will please Him and that feeling brings a sense of fulfillment to me.
Love in Jesus,
"But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired." (1 Corinthians 12:18 NASB)
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This devotional was originally posted on CCI-Devo - Daily Group Devotionals on December 10, 2003 in post #425. It was written by Jim Ross, a former United Pentecostal Church member, who attends Christian Challenge International, the sponsor of the devotional group. The devotional is the copyright of Jim Ross and is reprinted on this site by permission.
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August 23, 1997
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