What a wonderful and busy weekend our family had as we traveled to gorgeous Greenville, SC for some great PR related to my book! It was a fun-filled learning adventure and I was glad to have my friend and fellow author Maria Bostian to share it with as well!
Bullying is such a hot topic these days! Just about every day on news channels, in newspapers, magazines or the web you’ll find a story about bullying. While it seems so much more prevalent these days, it is certainly not a new thing! Bullies have been around since man decided that he knew better than God and was going to do things his own way. Thus, the heart with the potential to bully was born. And, I am sure most of us have a tale or two of our own to tell about bullies. And, if you’ve ever been the victim of bullying, even if the experience is years old, the remembrance of it can bring back strong and painful emotions.
This Easter weekend all we have to do is look at the cross to see bullies in their cruelest hour beating, scourging, mocking Jesus. An innocent man, accused by covert bullies under the guise of religion, tried by cowards who refused to stand on what was right, betrayed and denied by those who claimed to be his friends. In a short period of time, less than 24 hours Jesus experiences mental, emotional, spiritual and physical bullying to the most extreme measures! How is it that I still doubt that He “gets it” when my heart is broken and my spirit crushed by the bullies that I encounter?
Enter the cross where Jesus laid down His life, spilled His innocent blood so that those who repent of their sins and accept His gift of salvation can have their accounts wiped clean by a Holy God! And the song that has been playing in my heart and head: In Christ Alone (by Stuart Townend) . His death became my freedom from the curse of sin that separated me from a holy and righteous God. He is my Righteousness. His death has made me free as Galatians 5:1 says “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free”
And I come back to the song playing in my head; to this phrase that has got me thinking about sin’s curse and the collateral damage that we feel from sin’s curse when someone chooses to bully us: “And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its’ grip on me” . Reality is this: many people use their “freedom” to inflict pain upon others; bullies choose to sin and their choice inflicts a hefty price for anyone on the receiving end of their ugliness.
We hear this truth preached: that Christ died for our sins, once and for all, and that anyone that receives Him is no longer separated from the Father by their sin. In essence, the curse of sin, which is separation from a Holy God, no longer has its’ grip on us! Hallelujah! “And as He stands in victory sins’ curse has lost its’ grip on me!” But, what if there is more?
What about the devastation that can grip us when we have been victimized by bullying? The residual effects of that pain can hold us fast in its death grip and slowly choke all life right out of us. Please hear this truth: the horrible effects of the sins someone else commits against us were also dealt with when Christ arose! No power could hold Him down! There was nothing that was going to stop Him from defeating the curse of sin; nothing that was going to stop Him from rising to power over the effects of sin (our own sin or the sins committed against us) and raising us up with Him to victory!
Will we feel pain when someone hurts us with their words or their actions? Unfortunately, we will. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t or won’t feel the pain of it. What I am saying is that this Easter celebration just gives emphasis to the fact that we can choose to live Easter everyday when we stand in the rightful power of our Savior Jesus Christ and in His love! Maybe that is the mystery behind why He told the people on that hillside centuries ago in the book of Matthew chapter 5 to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Perhaps this is where true power to overcome lies?
He gives us very simple instructions here. Not easy, but simple and straightforward. When He rose again, He provided the power to make these simple, but sometimes difficult instructions completely possible to follow. We do not have to live in the grip of the curse of sins committed against us!
Not only saving us from our own sins, but giving us a power to live free from the vice-grip of the pain and bitterness caused by those who bully and hurt us. The beauty and the power of Easter is meant to be an everyday thing for the children of God, for the church of Christ! We celebrate and live in the power of Christ Resurrected!
What the apostle Paul prayed for his brothers and sisters in Ephesus is my prayer, also, for all of you: Ephesians 1:15-23
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[a] toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you,remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Amen!
HAPPY (everyday) EASTER!
Enjoy the link to the song: In Christ Alone