As I said, this topic has been discussed and RE discussed over the years with no solid clarity for so many people. I LOVE to study the bible, but yet I couldn't bring to mind readily the middle part of my previous studies on the matter. My immediate recollection was NO, but...wait there SEEMS to be some contradictory points, thus necessitating more study. By the way...STUDY as defined in the on-line dictionary (remember when we said the Websters Dictionary? oops I digress) - 1. The pursuit of knowledge, as by reading, observation, or research. 2. Attentive scrutiny. II Timothy 2:15 says "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Yep, it says rightly dividing. It is SO important that we are constantly in the word to RIGHTLY come to the answer.
John 9:31 - "We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does His will." This was the first scripture brought up in our bible class. At first glance it would seem that our answer is clear, but upon further study and, yes, a trip to the church to talk to our preacher; I was reminded that one important part of studying the bible is not only to make sure of the proper context, but to find out WHO said what we read. The Pharisees were questioning the blind man that Jesus healed in the passage...trying to find out if Jesus had done some work on the Sabbath (REALLY trying to discredit Him...as always!); which would have "proven" to everyone that He couldn't be from God if he broke one of the laws of the Sabbath....sigh. It was the Pharisees that said the statement in John 9:31. This does not make the verse untrue, it makes it a statement the Pharisees said to try to bring doubt to the people around...again...to discredit Jesus... (Remember, what makes a good deception is that it has roots in truth) To find the complete answer it is important to study further than one verse, that could easily have been pulled out of context.
4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the [a]knowledge of the truth." (the good and acceptable in this verse refers to Paul's exhortation to Timothy that prayers and such be made for all men, including kings and those in authority).
II Peter 3:9 - " The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." So, the short of this story is God; who knows all things and sees all things, sent Peter to baptize Cornelius and his household.
These two seemingly conflicting parts of the bible caused the deeper study on whether God hears or answers sinners. In I John 3:22 - "And receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him" we learn that to have our answered prayers from God we need to keep His commandments...we do what He says...and one of those things is to become a Christian, and we do that at the point of baptism. (Acts 2:38). I John 5: 14-15 - "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him." And, so, the key to the answer of our question at hand is that God hears all, He wishes that no man should perish, and He answers those who do His will, those who ASK according to His will.
1. Matthew 3:5-6 - "People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River." The question to ask ourselves here is "How do we know he wasn't baptized?" and then in
2. Mark 2:4-12 is a story about Jesus healing the paralytic man and the Pharisees are once again trying to discredit Him by asking "Who can forgive sins (back then they thought that people with afflictions had to be sinners and this was their punnishment) but God alone?" vs 7. In verse 10a we have further help in our question about the thief on the cross..."But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,". Sinner or not, baptized or not, Jesus had all authority to bring the thief to heaven with Him! and third...
3. Romans 6:3-4 " Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Jesus hadn't died yet, so the baptism that we know as is our path to salvation today hadn't happened yet.
This only touches the tip of what we need to learn of God on matters like these. We know we need to study; to get in the Word diligently, and through that we will understand what we need to know to have our place in heaven with Him and to bring as many with us as we can! Here is more food for thought as we all study more on this subject!
Proverbs 15:29; Proverbs 28:9; Isaiah 1:15; Psalm 145:19; Zechariah 7:13; Proverbs 1:28-29; John 15:16.
Bullying is intentional aggressive behavior. It can be physical or verbal ie. psychological . It can include teasing, harassing, insulting, excluding, gossiping about, hitting, and/or even grabbing someone...IT IS SOMETHING THAT TYPICALLY CONTINUES UNLESS THERE IS INTERVENTION!
We hear a lot about bullies these days...kids that have been mercilessly picked on and abused by other kids to the point sometimes where they are so devastated that they kill themselves. HORRIBLE...it makes me absolutely sick to think of it! When I taught in public school bullying was the number one thing that I just wouldn't tolerate...AT ALL! To see kids picking on someone who they have deemed as less than just really got to me and I put a stop to it IMMEDIATELY! Did you know there is biblical principle for this? Psalm 82:4 " Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” THAT is what we are supposed to do...not sit quietly, idly by so as not to "cause trouble".
We are all smart enough to know that bullying doesn't stop with kids...it exists in the "adult" world as well. I feel JUST nearly as strongly about adult bullies as I do kids behaving in such a horrible way with each other. I say nearly because children have NO RECOURSE if they are bullied but to depend on an adult or a brave other young person who might come to their aide...they cannot escape it as easily...BUT bullying is horrible and wrong no matter what the age!
What does God say about such things? Actually a lot, but to avoid an entire book in this post let's just look at a bit of His word and wisdom about people who bully. Leviticus 19:18: "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." OK you haters, you bullies out there...! I John 3:15 - "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." and don't get comfortable with yourselves if you think you are safe because you don't HATE the person who has been the object of your bullying...If you are not TRULY loving you are hating...COME ON! and in I John 2:9 - "Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness." and finally for this moment in time...
Proverbs 6:16-19 - "There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers." I cannot improve on that, but I want to get in the reality of it!
PEOPLE HAVE HEARTS UNDER THE SHELL OF PROTECTION THEY BUILD FOR THEMSELVES!! DO NOT BE GUILTY OF DESTROYING THE GOOD IN ANOTHER PERSON!
Have you ever spent time with someone who has been the victim of bullies? Kids or adults; it doesn't matter...there is a common thread in all of them...Eventually you will see in one form or another, ANGER, a REBELLIOUS ATTITUDE, BRAVADO or DEFEATED to the point of GIVING UP, an air of HELPLESSNESS, or AGRESSION. This is the danger. OFTEN the one bullied may become a bully. This happens when the bullied person has had enough. Any animal or creature in God's world that is poked at with a stick long enough will eventually strike back in some way if it doesn't stop. That is why bullying has to be stopped IMMEDIATELY! It can save a person's heart!
If you use your voice, your haughty eyes (YES, even a look), your ugly attitude, your disguised jealousy, your false attitude of righteousness to pick at or demean another person you are a BULLY! If this is you then you need to STOP immediately. You need to correct your behavior and in a very transparent way. GO to that person and make it right, use the steps of a good apology discussed in the previous post and make it right! Read Matt. 18, I Cor. 8...it's all in there...and there is MORE if you want to study...there is always more to help us know what is right and good to do!
Did you know that a group of bullies is called a mob? That is bullying that has just gone wild; when that happens INTERVENTION is a most definite course of action...very plain, very clear, very direct INTERVENTION by those who see it, is required! Once the ball of bully is rolling down that hill it is so much harder to stop! Anything BIGGER is more dangerous in this situation! STOP IT! We can't be passive, we have to be proactive!
God doesn't approve of this behavior, He HATES it as we read above. He expects us, as His children to be unified (Psalm 133:1, I Cor. 1:10), to love one another, to get along, to not regard any to be lower than us (Phil. 2:3)...we have to stop this mob mentality, this bullying so we can accomplish what He has asked us to do! We know this...it is the practicing of it that gets lost in the translation because we decide for ourselves what WE want, and we do that...Read Psalms 1 and following...here's a bit..."Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; ...
Be that person that resolves to stop this kind of behavior in your world, in your church, in your circle of friends, in your family. If we all do our part MUCH can be accomplished! Work together for good instead of wrong...be a mob of blessing for someone who has been bullied!
our perfect example
I John 3:12 - "Do not be like Cain who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous." and greed and the like; things that cause us to treat our fellow family members in Christ so badly sometimes; OFTEN in some cases! Take the time to read the whole passage in I John 3:11-24. It paints a picture of what it is SUPPOSED to be as we love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
How many of us are guilty of making what would be construed as an INSINCERE apology? (that's called a lie my friends) Is it even an apology? Or is it just mere words that sound good for the moment? The whole thing about loving each other sincerely is to BE SINCERE. IF we offend our brother, in order to keep what God asked us to do, MAKE IT RIGHT...MAKE IT REALLY RIGHT. sigh...we know this! Saying you are sorry is only PART ONE of making things right. The anatomy of a good apology is to 1. go to the person and admit what you did and say you are sorry (that's called accountability), 2. say WHY it was wrong (acknowledging that you understand WHAT you did to the person you wronged, and then say 3. WHAT you are going to do to make it right...and then 4. DO THAT. This is how we love each other sincerely! The man who stole from his brother was not sincere, he was not in the right in that he didn't follow through.
We have ALL been guilty at one time or another of not loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our selfish, jealous, greedy, self important selves get in the way, but it is not an excuse...we are not free to continue. Romans 6:1 - "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?" NO, we know that...we are to MAKE IT RIGHT! We should all be embarrassed when we hear the excuse so many offer for those who are not loving the way they should "That's just the way they are". What is that? There are no excuses for bad behavior, there is only the obligation we have to each other. I'm lead back to Matthew 18:15...read it folks...it is OUR responsibility to our brother. Yes, we have commandments too. Are we servants to each other? Do we encourage each other? Do we live in unity? Each person is responsible for his or her own behavior, are we listening to what God asked of us, or are we taking care of US at the expense of another person in our church family? You do not know how far and long damage goes in a person who needs love when you do NOT correct your sin! Do not be the one who God will call you to account for sin against your brother you did not correct when we are all called to our judgement! We have consequences for our behavior my brothers and sisters. Read Matthew 7:2 - "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Scary!!
The church is at war with sin. There are horrible, hurtful, dangerous things out there that we are supposed to have EACH other to help us navigate this life...WHAT ARE WE DOING TO EACH OTHER? WHY are we making it harder to go out and fight the evil in this world? We have a job here in this world to find and help as many as we possibly can come to God so they can have an eternal salvation. How much harder to we make it for each other when so much backbiting and gossip and hating and ugliness exist within our own family of God? Galatians 5:17 - "The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions."
Take some time to read a bit about what God expects us in our love of the brethren. BE HONEST with yourself, let yourself hop in the fire and be made stronger, more like Christ. We ALL need to reflect on our own sins and mistakes and CORRECT them for the good of unity. STOP making excuses for yourselves and others who are at fault...STAND UP and be courageous...STOP and learn...this is for us ALL....for no one is free of guilt...we are ALL in this together...wouldn't it be better if we were unified in LOVE instead of these character traits that are from satan?
Romans 12:10 - love each other with GENUINE affection. Galatians 5:13 - serve one another humbly in love. Romans 14:15 - act out of love for your brother if they are distressed about a freedom you have. and the same principle in I Corinthians 8:13. Romans 13:7 - give everyone what you owe them. Phil 2:3 - do nothing from selfishness...value others above yourself. I Thes. 4:9 - you are taught by God to love each other. Hebrews 13:1 - keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. I Peter 1:22 - Obey the truth so you have sincere love of the brethren. I Peter 2:17 - show proper respect. II Peter 1:7 - and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. I John 2:10 - if you love your brother you live in the light. And on, and on, and on. There is much more...study, learn, correct YOURSELF, love each other...without it we are not OK with each other or God.