Nobody likes bullies. They’re mean, ornery and cocky. They threaten and intimidate. They taunt and jeer. They hurt and scar people, inside and out—sometimes for life.
I got bullied by guys twice my size. They stuffed me inside trash cans. Stole my lunch money. Kicked and knocked me down. Bad-mouthed and belittled me. Harassed and hit me.
Fortunately, that brazen bullying was short-lived because Dad taught me to fight and defend myself. He said, “Son, never pick a fight; but if someone starts a fight with you, make sure you finish it.”
So, I ended up fighting a lot—all the way through high school.
I fought often, and enjoyed it—but I hated bullies. That’s why I stepped into tense situations and stood up for friends and strangers who were being pushed around, beat up or bullied.
Today, I’m not proud of my bare-knuckle fighting days, but I’m okay with how I stood up for others. And thankfully, I’m now a much gentler man.
Who or what do you stand up for today?
Long ago, the bold prophet Elijah stood for righteousness and truth on top of Mt. Carmel, as he squared off with wicked King Ahab and 400 false prophets. Anointed and empowered by God, Elijah stood alone against the forces of unrighteousness, idolatry, abuse and false practices.
God expects us to stand for what’s right and true, and speak on behalf of vulnerable and marginalized people who can’t defend themselves. Humbly. Boldly. Persuasively.
Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
But before we stand and speak, we must know who we’re defending. Unborn babies. Elderly folks. Disabled people. Terminally ill. Outcasts. Rejects. And the list goes on. To many, these individuals may be the lost, last and least of people. But not to us.
As I watch Elijah in action on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18), I see five principles for us to apply, as we stand and speak for what’s right and true.
With courage and conviction, we must (1) pray for God’s direction, power and blessing, (2) trust God and leave the results with him, (3) be willing to stand alone, (4) speak boldly, and (5) say and do what’s right, regardless of the consequences.
Like Elijah of old, let’s stand boldly and speak confidently—and let’s rely on God to empower us to say and do what’s right, no matter what.