Most of us grew up with a bully in our schoolyard. You used to be able to see him or her coming. Today, it’s not as easy. They hide on social media platforms, sit behind newsroom microphones, or stand behind political podiums. Sometimes they incite others to bully with them.
Jesus had experience with bully mobs. He stopped one from stoning a woman who had committed adultery. He watched another release a malicious criminal named Barabbas so they could, instead, crucify him.
How did Jesus respond to these two bully mobs? To the first, he said, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7 NLT). For the second, he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NLT). And when Peter wanted to start his own insurrection, Jesus laid his hand on Peter’s arm and whispered, “Put away your sword. . . . Those who use the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52 NLT).
Peter took Jesus’ words to heart and later encouraged: “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do. . . . For the Scriptures say, ‘If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it’” (1 Peter 3:9-11 NLT).
May we also take these words to heart!