I was a bully. I just wanted you all to know that. My friends from my home church came to visit this past week, and they reminded me and told some of you (general RCF community) of my past as a bully to them.
But let’s backtrack first, earlier this week I was thinking about prayer techniques because I like to lead prayer during our community group on Wednesday. One theme of prayer that I had when I was in middle school was to PRAY BIG. My youth minister encouraged us to pray for God to work in big ways because if you don’t believe in God’s great power, how is He going to work in your life? This is in reference to Matthew 16: 13-17 where Jesus asks Peter who He is. While some people said that Jesus was a teacher or a prophet, Peter answered that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. If we don’t believe in who God is and all that He is, he will only be a prophet or teacher to us. However, if we believe that God is the Messiah, then Jesus says “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (vv.18-19). What I wanted to do for prayer this Wednesday was encourage for people to pray specifically to work in their lives. For me, this means asking God to work in a certain time span, not testing God, but letting God show his greatness. I decided to pray on Sunday to Wednesday that God would reveal to me the Gospel in the new way so that I could share a testimony of how God had worked before asking my community group members to engage with God.
I once learned that prayer is FOR US. God is going to do His will no matter if we pray to Him or not, but when we pray to Him, we see and are conscious of how He is working in our lives.
I WAS a bully, and I am ashamed of it. I did not treat my friends right from kindergarten to seventh grade. I sat on them, and threw leggos in their face. I said a lot of mean and hurtful things. I know that what I did was wrong and that maybe those actions and words have left permanent scars that I cannot take back. But God can. Being a bully doesn’t define me because God’s grace covers me and my sins. God answered my prayer and he made me experience the gospel once again.
A couple verses that stuck out to me this week are from 1 Corinthians 1:20-31. Here, Paul is talking about how God’s foolishness is wiser than our wisdom. He shows that God calls us from foolish and shameful backgrounds because that is when we boast in the Lord.
I can’t boast of my past, but I can boast in how God has redeemed me from my past as a bully. I have even looked back and reflected how He has done that and it is amazing. I stopped really bullying people in seventh grade when I went to a retreat with my youth group in the fall. I realized that I had put up with people in my life who had bullied me and put me down, which made me turn around and do the same to others. However, I realized why those people bullied me from the context of their lives, their family, the pressures they faced.
Another powerful testimony is how my younger brother and I used to bully my older brother who has Downs Syndrome and is half deaf. You can see his cutie face in my old profile picture on FB. When my young brother and I were young, we used to run away from my older brother because we thought he was a monster like little kids think of the boogie man or the monster in the closet. We would slam the door in his face and play without him. Oftentimes, he would sit at the closed door and cry, but those sounds of pain and crying just sounded like weird moaning and annoyance to us. We even treated him so badly that it gave permission to the other kids at church to treat him the same way.
It wasn’t until fifth grade when my mom sent me to a workshop held by the Children’s Hospital in Boston called “My sibling has Downs Syndrome,” that I realized for the first time that my older brother had feelings. This was one of the first real life experiences where I learned compassion, empathy and grace. The fact that my older brother and I are so close now and have so much love for each other shows that God’s grace can really cover a multitude of sins. The love God has put in my heart for my brother surpasses just loving him but all those who are neglected. This is one of the reasons that I feel so passionately about helping God bring justice to this world.
So I guess I just wrote a mini testimony. I hope it encouraged you or you learned new things about me. =D
P.S. Happy World Downs Syndrome Day!!