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The Lesson of Intimidation

Matthew 26:59-68 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for a few false witnesses against Jesus, enough to put him to death [...] Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has blasphemed! What more witnesses do we need? Behold, you have just heard his blasphemy.  What do you think? They replied: "He deserves death. Then they spat in his face, punched him and slapped him, saying: Christ, prophesy; tell us who struck you?

Imagine how hard it can be for a human being to be falsely accused! We don't realize the damage intimidation can do to victims. What's more, we often expect them to "bounce back" easily and quickly, as if nothing had happened. Children who are bullied at school carry heavy of baggage! And those who live through it while the situation persists and the authorities who are supposed to protect the victim, in turn denigrate him or her; it's quite a war they wage against the individual!

One of my children was the victim of severe verbal and physical (and racist) bullying. Despite my battles with the school management, nothing was done, and I had to appeal to a higher authority to "resolve" the situation. My child became depressed at an age when you still think about "playing" with friends. The years that followed were nothing but struggles, with episodes of dropping out, demotivation and so on...

Has this ever happened to you? As a child or as an adult? I think we all go through it at some point in our lives. A little or a lot, depending on our race, our culture, our sex, our childhood (our baggage). Sometimes, we're the "bullies", we've placed ourselves with the wrong people or we simply don't realize the harm we're doing to others. Often in life, we vacillate from one side to the other; bully/bullied.

Bullying is very insidious... It starts with a few amusing remarks about the person, condescension, being left out... Unfortunately, the perpetrators of this abuse seem to be "good people" to others! Except for the victim...

For the perpetrators of these misdeeds, there's always a good explanation for the way they act. As can be seen in the text above, the main authority who should have taken different opinions to make up his mind "finds" that there is reason to make him "pay" in an unfair trial! Look how they react; they spit in his face, punch and slap him, saying: Christ, prophesy; tell us who hit you? It's all very "childish" and cruel at the same time! Imagine how difficult that must have been! It's a situation that resembles everyday scenes of bullying. Mean-spiritedness, a sense of one's own righteousness, authorized condemnation based on personal judgment, physical violence, hurtful words, a group rising up against "one" individual, belittlement and laughter. NOTHING can justify such behavior, if even someone would do wrong, they would be entitled to a fair trial. Sometimes, when you listen to the reasons behind such relentlessness, they really are ridiculous!

This is what Jesus went through, for us!

He knew all these things were going to happen to Him, and He even prayed that they wouldn't! (Mat26.42). He knew that He would not only experience this once, but many times (Mat27), yet He could call upon a heavenly army to defend Him (Mat26.53). But He had to go through all that, for the divine plan to be fulfilled. (Lk24.7, 26, 46; Heb2.10; 1Pier1.11; Act17.3) for our SALVATION! 

If someone were to come up to you, without EVER having experienced what you've been through, and tell you to "get up", and see the "good" side of things, you would tell them to mind their own business... On the other hand, in this suffering Jesus, you know that he can sympathize, because He Himself has endured the same things! He experienced intimidation like we do, persecution, injustice, the wickedness of men and their rejection. That's why He said to the victims, "Rejoice, for your reward will be GREAT in heaven" (Mat5.11). He also reminds us all that we shouldn't be surprised if the world hates us (Jn3.13) that as the world welcomed Our Incarnate "God" and made no mention of Him, how could it do so for us... He also asks us not to be among those who take part in these dead works! (Ps1.1; Prov24; Mat24.10), but rather to be in His Image and forgiving as He was.

The Lord also wants us to be "social justice" (always in His image) by standing up for those who are weaker, and if we are the ones suffering today, we must "denounce" these injustices, but not use them as an excuse to become like our tormentors! For this, only Jesus can give us the wisdom to do the right thing and not go to another extreme. Only God can help us! Nor should we fall into extremes by staying in a bad situation, forgiving, without changing things, trusting in His Spirit to guide you out of this situation, if possible! 


Lord, I pray for anyone reading this post who finds themselves in the situation of being bullied. You are the living God, who at any time can work a miracle. May that miracle touch the life of my brother/sister! Lord, I also pray that you heal those who have been wounded by similar situations, for you are the God who restores, heals and binds up wounds! Come to the aid of those who are confused in such situations, and set them free in Your great goodness!

Lord, I also submit to You all those who have been bullies, I also ask You to restore them, to change them, give them the courage to ask forgiveness of their victim! I also pray for all of us (God's children), that we may be like You in kindness and forgiveness, and the wisdom to know how to avoid situations or resolve them according to Your will in our lives. In Jesus' name, give us the strength we need and the courage to face trials!

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