7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Young Timothy was being encouraged by the Apostle Paul to stand strong and remember who he was called to be as he was young heading a ministry and often became the subject of persecution as the NKJV Study Bible explains. The spirit of fear has been talked about in past messages. But G...od has been moving on my heart today to address the spirit of fear created through bullying. Many do not know but I was subject to bullying, especially during my middle school years when I spent time back in my home town. Bullying is a very serious issue that has plagued many preteens and teens in the last few years. The situation has become so grave that anti-bullying laws are being created and enforced in some places around the country. What is a bully? The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines bully as a person habitually cruel to others who are weaker. The behavior usually starts verbally but then progresses to physical violence. What is the purpose? The bully often creates a spirit of fear and terror so as to dominate or get what it is they desire from others and/or to feel superior themselves.
In my home town, I was bullied so much that even until this day, I remember the name of the young lady, even the smell of the perfume she wore. It used to sicken me so. The bullying began because I would not allow her to cheat off my paper during an exam. First of all, the middle school I attended was designated for "smart kids" or those with averages of 80% and above. To top things off, our class was considered the "smartest team" in the school. In order to be placed in a team you had to be tested. While your grades were a factor, the tests determined your level. So I knew that everyone in the class had the same capability and aptitude to learn just as I did. I knew that the cheating was just out of laziness. Now, the young lady was already smoking illegal drugs, skipping school, etc. I knew she wasn't stupid but lazy so I was not going to enable her laziness. If I had to study and work, so did she. And that pissed her off. Most of the class seemed to fear her and she used that fear and popularity to create havoc that I became the subject of scorn based on the color of my skin and my clothes. Though they were still bewildered how a dark skin girl could have long hair. When she saw that she could not stir me enough, she then got classmates to participate with her in stealing and hiding my personal belongings, to the point that the teacher punished everyone since no one would come clean as to who took my things. And for that I paid a greater price. When she found out that I was friends with someone taller and bigger than her and was warned not to touch me, she backed off from starting a fight. I had dreams about fighting her to the point I knocked her slam out. (For real) Instead, she used the students in the class to physically start fights with me, especially those taller than me. It was to the point that I had to get the school involved. When certain administrators were told who my mom was, they remembered her as she worked for the school at one point in time. They vowed to chastise anyone who laid a finger on me from that point on. The threats continued from multiple young ladies that I would be "jumped" at the end of the school year. I recall talking to an aunt and she told me of her days dealing with fighting. A young Latina lady that I befriended on the school bus had heard of my dilemmas as I was often talked about and offered to utilize her knifing skills if necessary. She was at the middle school next door. A young man that I knew was arrested because he brought a gun to school to counteract anyone messing with him. The fighting was so bad between the students at both schools that a new ordinance had been decreed and announced that anyone caught fighting would be handcuffed and hauled away by police. Teachers were done trying to break up fights as they became more vicious. I knew another young lady whose relative was friends with a relative of mine. She didn't speak to me much while in school but when I overheard that they were planning to jump her, I spoke to my relative and asked if I could call her friend and warn them both about the beat down coming. It was too late. She was jumped by multiple girls on the way on from school. Their plan was to put her in the hospital. My time at the school was temporary. I was grateful when I returned back to where I belonged. See, where I was prior, I was liked for who I was and often protected.
What is the point of sharing this with you? If this was what it was like for me more than twenty years ago, what do you think things are like for those being bullied now? Often bullies are covering up for their own inadequacies whether self-imposed or brought on from an environment. In either case, young people are in real danger. If you suspect bullying, get the school involved before a child ends up seriously injured or dead at the hands of another. If you have to get authorities involved and get them in counseling, then do so. It is better to do it before your children take matters into their own hands by taking their own life and/or the lives of others.
Those of you who know me, now understand why I don't let a person's size frighten me into doing what I do not want to do. I will not return to a spirit of fear for anyone, now that I know who I am in Christ.