Tag Archives: bullying

Are you Being Controlled?

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16(NIV)

The Bible tells us a lot about control. However it is usually referring to ‘self-control’. We answer to God regarding our actions. We  are instructed to control our own behavior and not the behavior of others.

The difference between being controlled and being obedient is an act of the will. Obedience results when we willingly accept the instruction of the person we are serving. With obedience, we do what we are expected to do to meet the obligation of a contractual agreement, whether the agreement is written or spoken.

Obedience brings benefits to the person who is obedient. It may be a salary, vacation, bonus, health insurance, retirement income, etc. However when you are being controlled by another person, the benefits go to the person that is doing the controlling.

Being controlled by someone else is when you are coerced into a given behavior. Frequently we think of this as ‘being manipulated’. In Romans 6, Paul is referring to this as slavery. When someone controls our behavior, we become slaves to the person who is controlling us.

Why do people allow themselves to be controlled by others? It is usually because of fear.

For instance, in the marriage relationship, when one spouse attempts to control the other spouse, it usually results from the fear of losing the relationship. There is fear for both spouses. One spouse feels that if they do not their spouse, they will lose the marriage while the other spouse acts out of the same fear. In other words, they want the marriage to be the way they dreamed it would be and not the way their spouse dreamed it would be.

Another example is the parent that instills fear in their children by always threatening them with negative consequences every time they behave differently that the parent wants want it to be. Frequently, the parents are fearful that their children will act in a way that will cause the parents embarrassment or make them look less important than they want people to believe. The child fears the consequences of not doing what the parent wants them to do. The parents fears that people will find out that they are not as good as they want people to think. It is a fear that their deceptions will be uncovered.

Sometime we allow ourselves to be controlled because we are fearful of making a wrong decision. We do not have the confidence we need to make those decisions. We are afraid of what people will think of us if we make a mistake.

In our daily lives, we often hear about some type of bullying taking place. Bullying is a form of controlling another person’s behavior. Bullying is using a form of fear for coercing the bullied person to behave in a way acceptable to the bully. If that person failed to comply with the bully’s request, they will experience some type of pain or death.

What Paul is saying in his letter to the Romans is this: If we comply with a controller’s demands, we are a slave to that controller.

 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16-18(NIV)

If you are allowing someone to control your life you are living in fear and not in love.

“But you, Israel, my servant Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:8-10(NIV)

God was telling Jacob not to fear because God had chosen him. God would be with him, strengthen him and help him. If you have accepted God’s gift of salvation, God has chosen you. He wants you to be filled with love, not fear. He wants you to be obedient to him and to follow him out of love.

When someone else wants you to become their slave turn your situation over to God. He will supply all of your needs and do it with love, not fear.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog has been downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Faith or Bullying?

In our desire to have everyone believe like we do, we frequently us a bullying tactic to get them to convert to our beliefs. We attempt to change their beliefs without first listening to what they believe. We want people to have our beliefs regardless of what they think.  We are trying to bring glory to ourselves. We lack faith in God.

You can tell people about your faith without forcing them to believe like you.  In fact, that is what the Bible tells you to do. It also tells us to do this in love. The reality of the situation is that the Holy Spirit convicts people of their need to change. Our job is to love them!

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6(NIV)

When we attempt to convert people by using a bullying tactic, we are demonstrating a lack of faith.  We cannot wait for the Holy Spirit to convict, we want to convict them in our timing, using our own strength.

In Matthew 17:14-21 the writer is writing about faith.

A man brings his son to the disciples wanting them to heal his demon possessed son but they weren’t able to heal him. Why? Because they were relying on their own power to heal the boy. The man was relying on the power of the disciples and the disciples were trying to use their power to heal the boy. The disciples didn’t want to bother God with their problem…They wanted to resolve it by themselves…without faith. They were concerned about their reputation; they wanted the glory.

When the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t heal the boy, Jesus said they had “so little faith.” You see, they were trusting in themselves to heal the boy.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20(NIV)

In Mark’s account found in Mark 9:14-29, he adds another phrase that I believe is very important. The phrase is found in v. 29 when Jesus said: “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

The faith that Jesus is talking about is not believing that you can physically move mountains in your own power; It is about trusting God with your mountain. Jesus is talking about faith on the spiritual plane. That is why it takes prayer. Prayer is at the spiritual plane!

Many of the problems that we face in our society today will only be resolved by trusting God at the spiritual plane! The problems are situations that God puts in our paths to show us His power and glory, but we are trying to do them on a physical plane so that we can get the glory. We are trying to bullying God into doing what we want.

This does not mean that we don’t do anything on the physical plane.  The Holy Spirit will be the one to give us the instructions that God wants us to execute. In other words, when we ask God for something like moving a mountain,  He may have us use a shovel in the process of moving the mountain, but it is God that is ultimately moving the mountain. God is the one orchestrating the removal.

There are many discouraging events happening in the United States today. We have concerns about government control, economy, our freedom, family structure, etc. As people, we have a tendency to get other people to join our band wagon as we fight for or against various issues. We argue and fight about the issues among ourselves; we try bullying others to get on our band wagon. We are just like the disciples; we are trying to make these changes in our own strength, so we can show God how hard we are trying.  Some things happen only by prayer, not by bullying or gathering opinions to support your ideas.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12(NIV)

Next time you are tempted to gather a group for your ‘moving the mountain’ band wagon, why not talk to God on your knees and let Him ‘move the mountain’. Put your faith in God, not in man.

 

NOTE: Scripture verses in this article were downloaded from www.Biblegateway.com.