The Best Approach with a Frenemy
"The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me." Psalm 118:6-7 (NLT)
Day after day, month after month, the hurtful behavior continued. The longer it went on, the stronger my emotions grew.
Someone who'd been a friend to my daughter had somehow become an enemy. Not an enemy with physical strength, but rather one armed with the power to injure through hurtful words, lies and gossip while manipulating others to do the same. Each day presented a new conflict, inducing heightened feelings of rejection, isolation and lowered self-esteem.
We reported the issue to the appropriate people, but despite many attempts, nothing changed. We felt hopeless. When yet another situation sent my daughter home from school in tears, I felt my hostility and frustration bubbling to the surface, and knew I was faced with choices about my own behavior.
I could fuel my daughter's anger by reminding her of all the reasons she had a right to be mad, causing both of us to grow more bitter.
I could allow hostility to become a stronghold in my heart and refuse to forgive.
I could talk to my friends and family about the situation, soliciting their support.
I could cry buckets of tears, although that wouldn't dry the tears of my daughter.
Unfortunately I did a little of all that, because nothing hurts a mom's heart more than when her child's heart is broken or her spirit is crushed. But eventually, I grew weary of my emotions holding me hostage and turned to prayer instead of pouting.
I prayed daily for God to give us both the strength to continue trusting His purpose for my daughter's pain. I asked God to help me see those involved through His eyes, instead of my own — which were tainted with anger and concern for my own child. I prayed for Him to intervene and give us hope, peace and the comfort that only He could provide. I also prayed for God to help me forgive, when nothing in me wanted to.
As I sat down and prayed with my daughter, we discussed these words from Psalm 118:6-7a, "The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me."
I reminded her (and myself) of the truth of the Psalmists words, that regardless of what anyone said or did, God still was on her side. I wanted her to know eventually this difficult season would pass, but in the meantime she could find strength and courage in Christ. A tear fell as she promised to try and remember God would be with her every step of the way.
Even in the face of suffering and heartache, the Psalmist chose not to fear but instead focus on the favor of God, trusting He would protect and prevail over his difficult situation. He remained calm, confident and focused on God, intentionally choosing to fight his enemies with faith. As a mom, I knew our faith was the best choice for us as well.
We knew we couldn't force anyone to alter the way they treat others. Only God can change a heart. But we could choose to trust God and approach this situation the best way possible — through the eyes of faith.
Lord, I know You see our children and what they are going through. Help me to know how to speak truth into their lives, and help us have strength and courage to continue trusting You are bigger than our conflicts. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Editor's Note: If you or someone you love is facing a bullying situation, please report it immediately to someone in authority and make sure you or your loved ones are safe.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 18:10, "The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe." (NLT)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
If your child is hurting due to a similar situation, which have you been doing more: praying or pouting?
If you struggle with negative emotions stemming from concern over your child's situation, write a prayer to God seeking His strength. Ask God for help to push past feelings, focus on faith and discern how best to handle the problem.