In The Darkness
Have you ever played hide-and-seek with a toddler? If so, you know that their methods of hiding aren’t always as stellar as they think. They stand behind a chair with their precious, innocent eyes squeezed as tightly shut as they can. Their little mentality is simple – if I can’t see you, you can’t see me.
Oh if only it were that simple, Little One. I wonder how often our Heavenly Father thinks that over us as we hide in the darkness of our thoughts, fears, sins, and the enemy’s lies. Even though our feeble spiritual eyes cannot always see Him in the darkness, He is there.
Often, hiding seems like the best option when, in actuality, being in the light is always best. Even better is to be present in His Light. Once brought to the light, all restraints are gone. When sin is made public to a friend, spouse, or confidant, healing can began. Satan wants to keep us in the darkness where his lies can survive. By laying down our burdens in The Light at the foot of the Cross, the lies die and we can thrive in Him.
Just like in Cody’s story, the secrets are kept in the darkness and evil is given free reign. As he is being teased, taunted, and bullied, he holds his eyes closed as he lies on the locker room floor. He tries to hide behind the shield of his eyelids, but slips deeper into darkness. Only when his eyes are opened by the escalating situations and confiding in his trainer and mentor can he truly see that there are chains of evil holding him back from greatness. The shackles applied by self-doubt and tightened by the talons of the aggressors – when brought into the light begin to fall off. Strength is found in Cody acknowledging the lies, desiring to change, and by actively pursuing God’s goodness. As the links begin to break away, the darkness fades and hope prevails.
While reading Cody’s story, it is easy from the outside to see so many of the actions as manipulations and bullying. We are quick and diligent to teach our children that bullying is wrong and we can rattle off a list of warning signs. We can click on any news website and quickly find an article about school bullying and avenues to avoid such actions.
Are we as aware when bullying situations arise as adults? Do we dare accuse someone of harassment or do we lump it in with “harmless” breakroom jokes? We are quick to protect our children, but do we fall victim to socially acceptable bullying as adults? Even more, are we unintentionally being the bully with our words and actions? As adults, we can wish that everyone out-grew junior high, but sadly that’s not always the case. Beyond the years of the playground, classroom, or locker room are the conference rooms, water coolers, classroom parent organizations, …and dare I go further to mention various church groups. Go ahead and gasp. I said it – it can happen between Christians. Shocking, I know.
Bullying can be defined as repeated aggressions that are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating. More familiar words are belittling, marginalizing, isolating, condescending, patronizing, etc. (Hitting close to home, yet? After all, “bullying” only happens to kids, right??? Wrong.) Be aware not only of the way you allow people to treat you, but also of those simple phrases we speak that end in “just kidding.” It is said that behind every joke lies some truth. Big or small, our words and actions add up. I’d much rather the sum of mine to be edifying and uplifting than destructive and flat-out mean.
As Christians, we are all bullied by the most conniving misfit around. Satan works hard to find the chinks in our armor and then attacks. Sometimes it is a slow and steady deconstruction of self, and other times a swift kick in the pants. Either way, he is good at what he does.
I’m amazed how many times I allow the devil to spiritually bully me with his many tools. Where my temptations become sins and begin to choke out the Light. Where I begin to believe satan’s lies. It is a daily struggle that we must fight. Just as Cody had the constant reminder of “Fatty James” whispering in his ear, the devil does the same to us in the battle.
It is just that, though, a battle.