And the people did as they had promised. (Neh. 5:13)
I HAVE A PEACEMAKING HEART. I am not hotheaded or short-tempered. I’ve never been described as brash or belligerent. I don’t like confrontation or raised voices. But despite my natural tendencies, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson when it comes to how to deal with bullies. You must stand up to them.
Nehemiah was a new leader confronting some long-time corruption. Some of the powerful people in his city were taking advantage of weak and vulnerable citizens. If Nehemiah had taken a passive approach, those bullies would have overrun his leadership and toppled his credibility.
Scripture is full of humble people whom God called to stand up to big threats. Remember Gideon, David, Nehemiah, Esther, John the Baptist, and Paul? The same is true for bullies that you and I face. Their game is to intimidate you. Their goal is to have unbridled control.
Sometimes leaders shy away from the confrontation because they don’t think they will win. Other times they just don’t want the discomfort that it will bring. But in avoiding the conflict, godly leaders allow bullies to harm others. They also forfeit their own courage and confidence, which will ultimately thwart their leadership. If you are fighting for God’s kingdom on earth in a manner that honors God, his power will be with you.
Recall God’s power in past conflicts and deal courageously going forward.
Jarod Osborne is lead pastor of Pathway Church, Warsaw, Indiana. He is the author of Jaded Faith (WPH).
© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.