CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH  



Harmful Relationships

The Biblical Response to Bullies


By Edie Edmondson





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The first step to living the life of joy we are called to is prayer. Pray for strength to overcome the negative mindset and strength to resist Satan's constant attacks. Second Corinthians 10:5 is an excellent memory verse. Whenever negative or sinful thoughts start creeping up and overtaking your thoughts, just start reciting it over and over. After a few times it ends up just being the last part of the verse: "...we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." When I first learned this technique, I had to recite it often and for long periods of time. Over time things began to change, and the negative thoughts that nagged at me became much less pervasive.

Pray for strength to stand up for yourself when treated with disrespect. Realize standing up for yourself does not have to be aggressive. Simply state, without emotion (as much as possible), "I do not appreciate being treated this way and will no longer accept being treated this way. I do not yell at you/demean you/say things to purposely hurt you/use you (whatever applies in your case), so I know it's not asking too much to not be treated that way. From now on, whenever you do x, I am going to excuse myself from the room (or whatever works for you). This will give us both the opportunity to think about the issue so we can address it calmly and respectfully with each other." Every situation is unique, but this is a starting point that can usually be adapted to most situations.

Pray for the people in your life who have treated you according to this role. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize which relationships are healthy and which aren't. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you their baggage. While baggage is never an excuse for negative behavior, understanding is often helpful when it comes to healing and forgiving (this includes forgiving ourselves). If they are people who do not need to be in your life, ask God to give you discernment of which relationships to end and how. If they are relationships that cannot be ended, ask for guidance to handle interactions correctly in the future. Sometimes avoiding interactions or separating temporarily from a relationship is the best immediate course of action, and after you've grown stronger in your walk and gained confidence in how to deal with others who are disrespectful or mistreat you, you can again interact with those who are your greatest concern or hardest to deal with.
Pray for discernment about other's baggage—and whether you should help them carry it or walk away.tweet
Second, get in the scriptures. Start reading and truly learning who you are in Christ. He came and died for you...that alone means you should not be treated as a doormat, victim or wimp, nor feel like that is your permanent role. As you read the Scriptures, you will grow and become more like Him. And there are so many verses to remind you who you are in Him:

You are complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:10)

You are free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

You are born of God, and the evil one does not touch you. (1 John 5:18)

You lack nothing for your God supplies all of your needs according to His riches. (Philippians 4:19)

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Philippians 4:13)

You are God's workmanship, created in Christ unto good works. (Ephesians 2:10)

You are an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. (Revelation 12:11)

These are just a few verses. Ask the Spirit to reveal to you the verses that you need to help you overcome your negative role and grasp His strength.

Finally, seek out a mentor who can help you through this. Yes, Christ and the Holy Spirit are always with you, but we were created to be in fellowship and "bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2). I encourage us all to keep pressing on until we each become a great witness for Christ through our testimonies of overcoming.



Image Credit: Gideon Tsang; "talk to the hand"; Creative Commons



TagsBiblical-Truth  |  Christian-Life  |  Hardships  |  Personal-Relationships



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Published on 2-24-15