Church Bullies and the Sound of People Drowning

The MOST Googled phrase that leads people to my blog is this: “church bullies”. Can you believe that?

There are hundreds of people around the world searching the Internet for help recovering from church bullies.

Bullying is a violent behavior. Church bullies should be such an oxymoron it should be laughable not searchable on-line!

So, I think a lot about Noah these days.

He lived in a time when so many people had turned to wickedness that God decided to destroy them. Genesis 6:6 says the “The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”

The earth was corrupt in God’s sight and full of violence for all the people of the earth had corrupted their ways. “But Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” So, God saved Noah and his family from the destruction.

The story of a world-wide flood appears in every ancient culture and there is vast geologic evidence to support that it occurred and is not simply a story told around ancient fires to frighten tribal children into obedience.

So, I think about the struggles Noah and his family must have endured surrounded by people of violence – threatened on every side, fighting to keep their sons and their sons’ wives walking with God – all the while working to obey an outlandish assignment from a God no one can see. The scoffing and mocking they endured was probably the least of their troubles, although perhaps the most wearing.

But, then I think about the moment when they are closed up in the Ark and the rains come. At first, they could probably still hear jeers, laughter, insults, and objects hurled at their boat. But as the flood waters rose, I imagine then they heard people banging to be let in. Perhaps they heard screams and people crying out as the waters kept coming. And then there would have been a point when from outside the Ark, there was silence.

What I cannot imagine is that, as terrible and violent as these people had been and as much fear and anguish as they had caused Noah’s family, I just can’t imagine Noah dancing or laughing or rejoicing inside the Ark at their destruction. I imagine him listening in silence, anguished at the loss of life; wishing people had made the choice to walk with God, mourning at the terrible judgment of an Almighty God.

All life is precious. This is from God.

God will demand an accounting for the lifeblood of every human. From every animal and from every human, God will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow human because we are made in the image of God.

So, as we strive to represent the kingdom of God and to proclaim the kingdom of God, I see that we are to make clear who God is and what it means to live in obedience to Him. We need to model lives of obedience and we need to proclaim the truth of what God says is right and wrong. And we need to be faithful to this task because it can make the difference between someone being on the boat or in the water.

BUT, I believe we need to proclaim the kingdom of God with respect for the value of the lives of those who already stand under judgment. We cannot respect their decision to turn from God or to flaunt God’s laws but we must respect that they remain living beings created in the image of the God we serve.

Huddling in the Ark, listening to the last cries of a drowning world, had to be eternally sobering. It was so terrible, God covenanted with us never to flood the world again.

It bothers me when brothers and sisters in Christ scream their judgments at the world or announce their desire to rejoice at the destruction of the unsaved or the struggling. It doesn’t bother me because the judgment is untrue – it bothers me because it reveals a lack of love on the part of the church and a lack of respect for the sacredness of lives created in the image of a Holy God.

It makes me think these brothers and sisters need to spend some time huddled in the belly of a darkened ship listening to the entire world drown. If they could rejoice or dance at that moment, I daresay they haven’t really met the God they proclaim.

We all need to be true to the delivery style God has given us to share His message. Some of us are direct, in your face and ready to deliver the gospel straight to someone’s solar plexus. Others of us are gentler, meek and softer in our delivery of the truth. This is good and is part of God’s design.

But none of us should, by our delivery of an already difficult, powerful, offensive message, betray an inner lack of love or respect for all human life on our parts. We represent the kingdom of God. We are a kingdom at war but the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world.

So, if you’re a church bully, I exhort you in Christ to repent. If you have been bullied in church, may I gently encourage you to be healed by Christ. Let us be united and busy about the work before the time of judgment is upon us. The day is approaching, loved ones.

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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Wow Lori….this was an excellent post. You have such an amazing way with words, I know the Lord is blessing your writing. Have a great day!

  2. I don’t remember how or why I started following your blog, but you’re amazingly insightful. The minute I saw “church bullies,” it rang true. I’d love to see more on how someone can recognize it in themselves. I mean, church bullies probably don’t set out to be that way, so how can they spot signs that they’re doing exactly that? (BTW, Lori, if you’d like to write for us, I’d love to hear from you. I’m at righttogod.com. This would be a great topic for Both Sides Now.) —Jennie Dugan

  3. Thanks, Colleen. I needed that word of encouragement. I’m a tad discouraged at the moment – especially being locked out of Facebook for reasons that have not even been explained to me so your kind words are helpful!

  4. Thanks so much, Jennie. I think you found me through Christian Women Take Root. I’m going to pray about how a church bully can recognize themself. Fascinating idea. I’ve often wondered how you tell if you’re a prophet or a heretic – also fascinating but I think that’s easier since you simply measure your message against scripture. This one is harder because it’s a heart thing, to be sure. I’ll be in touch!