Bullying the Bullies

Stephanie thinks I may be a bit confrontational when it comes to subjects like ecclesiology or eschatology or even the best flavor of cheez-its, so, yeah, pretty much everything. She’s right, as she tends to be on a fairly regular basis. So we were talking and I was thinking the other night. Why do I think it is ok for me to be a bully when it comes to theology and not for other people to be bullies?

The first thing I realized was the obvious hypocrisy of my attitude. The thing I rail against on this blog most often is people bullying others into believing certain things and doing certain things and conforming to certain traditions. It drives me insane to see people being pushed around by pompous know-it-alls. So, in like fashion, I, the pompous know-it-all, tell all the other pompous know-it-alls what I think of their overpowering and oppressive ways. I employ the very attitude that I am trying to prove wrong in my attempts to prove it wrong. That is frustrating to realize!

So then the other part of my brain got rolling, the part that wants to justify my actions, and it explained to me that the difference was that I was bullying the bullies. This part of my brain told me that I saw some kids out on the playground taking money from the nerdy kid with glasses, so it was justified, no, necessary, to go out there and show those stupid bullies what it’s like to get picked on until they run away into their little corner licking their wounds.

That made me feel good … for about ten seconds, until I realized the absurdity of my reasoning. First of all bullying bullies only serves to prove that bullying is indeed the right approach, they just need to get better at it, strong and more powerful, like me (metaphorically speaking). This will only serve to create a power struggle and brings me to the major flaw: none of it is about loving God or loving people. It’s all about showing my strength, my reasoning, my knowledge, my righteousness, and that is all garbage compared to the love and peace and unity we can have in Christ. It’s all about Him and when I make it about what I know and what I can prove then I miss the whole point, the point I am supposedly trying to prove.

Will I stop being a bully? I would love to think so, but probably not, but I think that this is something important for me to remember, and maybe writing these thoughts down may help remind me and hold me accountable to chill out on the self-righteous, arrogance that I sometimes demonstrate when trying to prove to people that we should stop being self-righteous arrogant jerks to each other!

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About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

11 responses to “Bullying the Bullies

  • Alan Knox

    Dan,

    This is very good. Yes, I find myself doing the same thing – bullying the bullies. I don’t like it, especially since Paul says to use gentleness when speaking with those who disagree. I think I would have bullied Paul.

    -Alan

    • Dan Allen

      I don’t like to think of how I would have treated/judged Paul or the apostles or any of those guys. We obviously see them as heroes and people that were used by God, but I wonder if I would have thought the same thing if I was around when they were around. Don’t make me think about that stuff!

      Dan

  • mark

    Great post. Love the honesty. I’m learning that things don’t have to work out the way I see it my mind, or the way that I would prefer it. God is pretty capable, I am finding out, to actually handle things by His Spirit in us. And it often doesn’t look like what I expect.

    Isn’t there a saying about it being better to be happy than to be right all the time?

    I find that talking about the things you mention (ecclesiology, eschatology) with people who don’t agree with you doesn’t usually lead to peaceful, understanding discussions. However, I have found that talking about Christ as a Person almost always leads to good, life-giving conversation.

    β€œIn essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” St. Augustine

    • Dan Allen

      Thanks for the comment! I love what you said about the person of Christ. “I have found that talking about Christ as a Person almost always leads to good, life-giving conversation.” That is so true. It’s like if we start talking about the hope of Christ’s return instead of all the details about how we can know when it’s coming it’s much more likely that we walk away mutually edified instead of bickering.

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

      Dan

  • Stephanie

    You’re Welcome.

    πŸ™‚

  • Alan Knox

    Stephanie,

    We know that all his good ideas come from you.

    -Alan

  • Jon Philpott

    I experienced this just this weekend, I still feel kinda bad about the way I reacted, but I was able to speak to the person after and we agreed to disagree and agreed to agree in Christ. Amen!

    • Dan Allen

      Jon

      Thanks for letting me know that I’m not the only one! I like your thought of “agree[ing] to agree in Christ.” Seems a lot like the idea that Mark brought up. When we focus on the person of Christ instead of our personal agendas and defenses of our beliefs we seem to find a lot more room for agreement and mutual edification.

      Dan

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