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No Room for Bullying – Not Rude & Not Selfish


No Room for Bullying – Not Rude & Not Selfish

1 Corinthians 13:5

  • I don’t know what your problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce.
  • I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.
  • I’ll try being nicer if you’ll try being smarter.
  • How about never? Is never good for you?
  • It sounds like English, but I can’t understand a word you’re saying.
  • Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
  • I’m already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
  • Ahhh… I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again

Funny?  Maybe for bumper stickers.  But may I say that if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a phrase such as these, you know how it feels.  Is it any wonder why Paul wrote about rudeness and selfishness when he discussed the perfect love of God?  These two topics are complete opposites of the command for us to love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).  It goes against Paul’s exhortation to ‘consider others better than’ ourselves (Philippians 2:3).  God is in the business of valuing people and lifting others up.  Rudeness and selfishness do nothing to lift or love a neighbor.

Bullying happens when someone acts or speaks for their selfish need.  It really has nothing to do with the other person…but in the end has everything to do with the other person.  The person who is intentionally rude or intentionally selfish has a need for power.  This person wants to be heard, wants to be laughed with, and possibly thinks that the only way to success is through getting just what they need.  In reality, the potential is that they take life and peace from those around them.

There is a sadder truth here as well.  The one who is rude and selfish might have never been told that they have eternal worth…so much so that someone died for them.  Maybe they’ve been told over and over that there’s nothing important about them.  Maybe their environment has been nothing but hell.  They’ve grown up not knowing that they were created to be a best friend of God.  So they act out accordingly, mimicking what they’ve seen and heard.  Doing wrong things defensively thinking that it’s helping them.

Let’s move to the one who is on the receiving end of selfish acts and words.  I’ve seen so many kids through my years in ministry whose faces are always downcast.  They eat up the attention our ministry leaders give them.  They talk nonstop because someone actually took a few minutes to ask them how their day was or to tell them they were wearing really cool shoes.  And yes, when I say kids I mean all the way to college age and even older.  Truth is there’s no age that selfishness or rudeness doesn’t affect.

Can you see what the lie is here?  Satan has told many of us, somewhere along the line, that getting a laugh at the sake of someone else is OK and worthwhile.  We’ve been told that what we want in life is more important…maybe more so than anyone’s needs…and it’s OK.  We’ve been lied to.

Here’s the truth.  Perfect love is not rude or selfish.  The other truth is this…and this is the hard one…it’s a choice to not be rude and not be selfish.  Some people may say this, “But I have weakness to be sarcastic.”  Maybe this, “I’ve always been driven to get what I want.”  Paul makes no allowances for a personality test we may have taken years ago.  Love is love.  It is what it is.  And God wants us to look more and more like his son Jesus so others get to see Him and maybe want Him.  For some this choice to not be rude and to put away selfish tendencies is going to be hard, but that doesn’t mean we give up or not work hard.  Remember the end goal in God’s eyes?  God wants us to be in Heaven with Him forever…and to take as many people as possible with us.  The more we love others like 1 Corinthians 13 calls for, the more God has a chance to use us as an open and willing servant.  Open hands and an open heart…just like Jesus.  That’s the truth.  : – )

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

Questions for Growth:

  • Have you been bullied, talked down do, and trampled on because of someone else’s selfishness?  How did that feel?
  • Have you bullied, been rude, trampled on someone to get what you want?  How did that feel?  What was the look on the other person’s face?
  • Do you have personality that loves rude sarcasm or rude jokes?  How can you change that…today?
  • Do you have a personality that is easily broken?  How can you lift your heart even though you may have people around you who regularly beat you up?  (Quick hint:  The Bible has the story about how important you are.  The church isn’t perfect, but it’s a group of people struggling with the same things you do.)
  • Do you have a friend who can be honest with you when you let something slip that is out of place?  If not, who could that be?  Will you talk to them this week to watch your back and call you out if you fall?
  • Try memorizing 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  The Bible says that if we can meditate on God’s word enough, it will be there for us as a reminder of how to live daily.  And memorizing also gives the Holy Spirit more things to use that we’ve planted in our own brains.
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