Don't Be Afraid of Bullies!

GOLIATH was a giant. He was also a bully. For forty days he had been taunting the army of Israel, telling them how gutless they were. He despised David, the young shepherd who had come out in battle against him. In Goliath's eyes, neither David nor his people had any worth.

Goliath's bullying was so convincing, in fact, that even seasoned warriors had been taken in by it. But, as the Bible records, David had already proved God's love through relying on Him for protection from bears and lions while he was looking after his father's sheep. So when David went out to fight Goliath with only a sling and some smooth stones, he knew God would be with him. And David was victorious in defeating the giant, Goliath.

You, too, can call on God for help, because the same God who cared for David will care for you. Here's how:

Bullies, like Goliath, make us angry or fearful because they persist in threatening us or saying bad things about us. Bullies would wear us down because they keep attacking something we feel unsure about--maybe our intelligence, our ability to succeed in school, our family, our future, or whatever.

Now, let's suppose that a bully kept coming to you day after day and kept telling you that you had pink hair. One glance in a mirror would be enough to show that the bully was wrong. So you might be annoyed, but you wouldn't be tempted to believe it, and none of your friends would either.

The same is actually true for taunts referring to your intelligence, your strength, or any other aspect of your life. When bullies attack in this way, they are trying to convince themselves that they are better than their victims. They do this by trying to make us think we are limited beings, lacking intelligence, prospects, goodness, and so forth.

But the bullies are wrong, and we don't need to believe them. This is why David was so confident when he faced Goliath. He knew that true strength, courage, wisdom, and goodness are spiritual and come from God. Since they are spiritual, they can't be lost or limited. David said to Goliath, the Bible tells us in First Samuel: ''Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand'' (17:45, 46). He was pointing out to Goliath that all of the giant's material weapons simply could not touch someone who knew his source to be God.

Now, who or what is this God that helped David and can help us too? Christ Jesus--the founder of Christianity--taught his followers to know God as their Father and to call on Him in times of need. Through Jesus' teachings, Christians came to see God as divine Love. This Love is even stronger than the strongest love you can feel for your family or friends. It is omnipotent and unchanging.

In fact, we can think of it as spiritual armor--armor that covers us completely. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures how this armor protects us: ''Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity'' (p. 571).

To me, this ''cement'' is our unity with God as the offspring of the one divine Father. This unity becomes apparent as we turn to God in prayer. In essence, this was what David did. His certainty of God's power to save was his prayer for himself and for his people. So if you ever have to face a bully, you can pray also to know that in divine Love, hatred simply can't exist. And this Love, being infinite, encompasses both you and the person taunting or threatening you. You are both spiritual children of Love, united under one all-good Father.

The effects of this prayer will be different according to the particular situation. But if you are persistent in praying this way, you will find that the voice of the bully will grow less and less scary. It may be that the bully will go away--or even become your friend!

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