Have you ever been picked on or singled out from the crowd for some reason? Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, ages, political persuasions, and religious preferences. When you are on the receiving end of someone’s vitriol, you long for release. It can be embarrassing and even humiliating to be “called out” by someone who disagrees with you or simply doesn’t get who you are. You can feel like you are drowning and nobody is throwing you a lifeline.
And when you are completely misrepresented, it’s even worse.
Even in those circumstances where the person has made incorrect assumptions, is projecting their issue on you, is threatened by you, or is jealous of you, being the object of someone’s derision is uncomfortable at best and demoralizing at worst. You just want to hide, and you wish to heaven that someone would come along and defend you.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever made someone feel that way?
Read these words and see if they resonate with you:
Psalm 69 (New King James Version)
13 But as for me, my prayer is to You,
O Lord, in the acceptable time;
O God, in the multitude of Your mercy,
Hear me in the truth of Your salvation.
14 Deliver me out of the mire,
And let me not sink;
Let me be delivered from those who hate me,
And out of the deep waters.
15 Let not the floodwater overflow me,
Nor let the deep swallow me up;
And let not the pit shut its mouth on me.
This imagery of floodwater overflowing us when we are hurt by someone’s words is powerful. The psalmist pleads with God to not let him sink in the mire and to deliver him from the deep waters.
Have you ever been caught in a riptide? This deadly force can swiftly carry even the strongest swimmer out to sea in a matter of minutes. It flows from the shoreline to the waters beyond the waves and takes everything with it, much in the same way that a mean-spirited and angry person can take you out with his words, lies, and innuendos.
16 Hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good;
Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies.
17 And do not hide Your face from Your servant,
For I am in trouble;
Hear me speedily.
God wants us to learn how to swim parallel to the shore when riptides and ripwords assault us. We are to look to him to help us out of the undertow of somebody’s disapproval. Just keep swimming along the shoreline and you will eventually swim out of it. It works with tides and people. You have the power to keep your head above water and swim out of their deadly pull. Fighting both tides and ignorance gets you nowhere.
18 Draw near to my soul, and redeem it;
Deliver me because of my enemies.
If you are in a war of words with a bully, stop talking. Walk away. Respond with good wishes, show them some lovingkindness, and then get on with your life. You may need to block their number, unfollow, or unfriend them…whatever it takes to swim out. Never feed a troll.
God delivers those who deliver themselves.