Surviving in Satan’s World
He Restoreth My Soul
Psalms 23: 3
Throughout my hellish teenage years it was said to me: “Girl,
if you don’t toughen up you’ll never survive in this world.” True. It’s not just healthy bodies and proper self-esteem that get destroyed by bullying. Many tender hearts grow as
combat-hardened as clay baked in a furnace. A bright mind that would otherwise be busy learning happy, positive things
becomes a personal Pentagon, forever gathering intelligence on the enemy, amassing
stockpiles of clever comebacks to insults, beefing up defenses and drafting plans
for surviving the next enemy attack.
God uses real people to serve Him, not sheltered stained-glass relics. Even today I must rely on God
to be strong where I am weak. It comes from being a survivor, I guess. I have a deep-seated fear of vulnerability. More than anything
I fear appearing weak to satan’s crowd. Where I live now, teenagers think nothing of catcalling at strangers and trying
to get an angry response from them. That’s happened to me before. When it does, a button inside me gets pushed and I suffer from what I term “Triggered
Response Syndrome”. Immediately I am transported forty years back in time to my high school hell. It is then I once again confront Butch and Mike Crane, and the anger and hate of that persecuted young
girl hits me full force like a tidal wave. That’s my Achilles heel. More than anything I fear being tempted to hate another human being, however disgusting
he is. It makes me cry to be put in that position. While others cry their
eyes out through funerals I have sat dry-eyed through just about everything and learned to roll with the punches of a hardscrabble
world, but the one arrow that penetrates my tough facade is human meanness. Only the miraculous power of God can pull
satan’s arrows out of my hide and restore my joy and sense of self-worth after suffering a flashback.
If this were a different world I would smile warmly at everyone I saw on the street, including teenagers. But most of them are way too cool for that. If you were to smile sweetly at a kid
and say:” Hello, how are you on God’s beautiful day?” you might get a hard stare or nasty reply, especially
if their friends are watching.
Life in a world of scary entities makes you streetwise. You
let your light shine, but like a spotlight you instinctively try to direct it
toward those who will appreciate it, not trample upon it. You avoid eye contact
when you spot a gang of youths hanging around the local convenience store. If you feel uneasy about what’s just up ahead,
you cross the street and take a different route. You stiffen when you hear giggles
behind you as you pass by. Then you ask yourself:
Why must I constantly be on my guard, unable to share a nice word with those I automatically pigeonhole as off limits?
Why do I feel combative much of the time, instead of peaceful, feminine and gentle?
Right after I got filled with the Holy Spirit I was continually in a state of effortless joy and the
smile seldom vanished from my face. But as years passed various trials of faith
came which strained that joy. I suppose the worst thing satan used to try to
discourage me was disillusionment about televangelists I used to support, only to find out what greedy wolves they were (for
more info on that read http://banpreachergreed.tripod.com ). It hurt me whenever I’d hear of Christians hurting other Christians. There were those stressful years following my husband’s accident in 1984, when
it was touch and go with his recovery from his leg injuries. There were stresses
and aggravations at work, and worries about paying the rent on time. All these
things took their toll on my emotions and life made me feel like a tarnished penny. After all the fun church services of my
early Christian years, and happy times of fellowship, battles against satan had to be fought.
I learned that while I dwell in mortal flesh, the Christian life is no endless jubilee of joy, but a battle against
a belligerent devil out to destroy everything good and decent. When I feel down I must do like the Psalmist David and be led
by God to the still waters of calm, where He can restore my soul_and my joy of my salvation. God can wipe away the soot which
accumulates on the soul from contending with such a heartless world as this. Alone in God’s Presence, I can be who I truly am_a joyful citizen of the Kingdom of God.
A survivor of life who sings of all His wondrous mercies.
In my joy and contentment I remember those who have found no Haven of Rest.
Psalms 64: A Prayer for Protection
David who was persecuted (hunted down for destruction) by King Saul, pours out his heart to his God,
Who alone is able to preserve David’s life and avenge all the wrongs done to him. Psalms 64 is one of his many prayers
for deliverance and justice.
VERSE 1: Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.* * * *David cried
out to God to preserve him from fear of the enemy. Fear is one of satan’s deadliest weapons against a child of God. Fear of other people overwhelms the mind and destroys your faith in the the greatness
of Almighty God.
VERSE 2: Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked, from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity.*
* * Did you ever have the creepy feeling others are yakking about you behind cupped hands?
You wonder what stupid insult they’re going to throw at you next, or what sick practical joke they’re going
to play to make you look foolish. David prayed for God to hide him from the wicked
plots of his enemies. Trust Him to do the same for you.
VERSE 3: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter
words.* * * * The tongue is an unruly evil, filled with deadly poison (James 3:6-8). David
prayed for God to protect him from the power of his enemy’s bitter words.
The remainder of this chapter speaks of the boldness of the wicked, who really don’t expect any
retribution to fall upon them. But God will suddenly shoot at them to wound them,
and His righteous judgments will result in glory being given to Him as the Righteous Judge.
Thanks to the manipulation of the economy by the super-rich, the average cost of living is soaring way
out of sight. In the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, one man working
one full-time job could adequately provide for his family. Mother was usually
home to greet the kids when they got home from school. She’d give them
some space but whenever they needed a listening ear, she was there for them with homemade cookies and companionship.
No more. Now only a tiny percentage of American families
fit that pattern. Only a few highly energetic women can muster the stamina to
juggle a home and a high-powered career. But more typical is the woman overwhelmed
by a monotonous, exhausting job (or two) who views her home as simply just another job to tackle on the fumes of her depleted
strength. Guilt feelings arise from the involuntary resentment she feels when
her partner (it used to be husband!) or children make demands on her few tranquil
moments at home, for the maternal instinct is still there, conflicting with her need of rest.
The demands of the rat race make it difficult for parents to exit from life’s treadmill and nurture their young.
Regrettably some children are shifted from caregiver to caregiver, even in their formative years. This lack of stability cannot be beneficial to tiny children, who need to form close
bonds with nurturers. It’s just like taking a young plant and repotting it over and over in different soils. It cannot but be harmful.
In these days of quickie divorce, the original family unit is often disbanded and a “blended family”
formed by merging with the family of a new partner. Unfortunately, the adults’
romantic needs are often placed ahead of the best interests of the children involved. Ill-concealed hostility and rivalry
sometimes exist between step relations, usually because the offspring of rival parents are resented. Such friction occasionally leads to vicious verbal or physical abuse of children by step parents, which
in turn, motivates a rejected child to want to become an abusive tyrant himself in order to salve his battered ego; hence,
Take Decisive Action
I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will
save thy children
If your child is being victimized by dangerous school bullies, take him out of school at least until you are certain the immediate danger has passed! Not all children have the resilience to suffer persecution and physical danger for five whole days out of the week. That’s as scary as being locked up in the same cell with Jack the Ripper, or getting thrown
into a den of hungry lions! I know there are truancy laws, but the government does not own your child. God does! He has given YOU the responsibility of protecting that child! I don’t advocate anarchy, but the safety
of your child must always take priority over pleasing government officials. Leave no legal stone unturned to do what’s
necessary to take your own, precious child out of harm’s way. He or she cannot learn in a torture chamber, and why should your child be scarred for life emotionally or
physically from such abuse? Young people of my generation rebelled against being drafted to fight an unjust war. Rebel against bullying! Stand up for your child’s right to learn in a safe environment.
Take it from me, I endured years of having my self-image trashed by the grossest insults. It is literally emotional rape, committed against you over and over and over again, day in and day out!
Nothing hurts more than to be a warm, friendly type with lots of love to share; love which is rejected by teenage peers who
only pal around with kids who are too “cool” to have hearts and individual personalities. Sensitive people hurt more, so they make the best target
for bulllies who hunt for some soul to destroy. My ability to love others was
totally destroyed by prolonged abuse and only God was able to restore it.
Romans 12:18 says: If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with
all men. Sometimes peaceful coexistence with everybody is NOT possible, because
while we want peace others want war (Psalms 120:7). Real life reality must courageously be faced by guardians or parents of
the victim! I have read many accounts of parents who waited so patiently for their child’s bullying problem to “sort
itself out” that they waited until the second or third bad beating to do more than utter a feeble protest about the
situation. Apologetically the parents wheedled with school officials to beg the
bully to bestow upon their child the privilege of living in physical or emotional
health. Talk about hate crimes and social injustice! It begins at an early age!
Running in Shackles and Crash Landing
Parents take great pride in their kids’ grades. I’ve
got a fairly high I.Q. But when you’re in a pressure cooker of persecution
day in and day out, your academic life goes down the toilet. It was my very first day of seventh grade. Out of the blue my
homeroom teacher asked me some ridiculous question. My mind went totally blank
and I could hardly choke out a reply. An awful terror crept over me and I got
the shakes. I felt trapped. I began
to cry when the rest of the class laughed at me. After school, the teacher called
my dad at work and got him mad at me, so mad he didn’t listen to anything I said.
At the time that teacher had barely met me but she told him: “That girl acts like a baby.” All because I’d had an INVOLUNTARY panic attack of bad nerves which made me cry against my will!
Parents, NEVER just take the word of an adult without first stopping to listen to hear the rest of the
story from your child. Don’t yell and refuse to listen to your child’s side of the story. Just because the teacher
is older doesn’t mean they’re always right. I did nothing calculated
to annoy that teacher. All I did was lose control of my tear ducts because a terrible sensation of fear and feeling trapped
and humiliated overpowered me. It was the devil beginning a campaign of abuse
against me that lasted many years. I’d had few problems in elementary school,
but from that day on, most of my school years would be hell. When I get to heaven and see the Lord face to face,
I will remind Him to punish the foul evil spirits who made that trouble for me!
It only takes ONE bad first impression to ruin you for good! Kids
carry a bad joke too far and never let you live it down. One boy liked to stomp on my toes.
He and this evil-eyed girl grabbed my books after school and threw them in the street. My glee club went on a field
trip to perform for some big wigs. I’d practiced my heart out, but was
asked to sit the performance out, along with one other girl. When we all went
to a cafeteria to eat, I sat alone at my own little table, while some goofy girl grinned at me and kept saying: “Fish
That was the same girl who’d complimented me on my art work in sixth grade. But going up to seventh
grade changes the whole ball game, doesn’t it? A formerly friendly, likable girl became
a big time operator. Ya just gotta put down the dweebs so you’ll
look good in front of your fancy friends and climb satan’s social ladder! Oh, a few kids were kind, but I was afraid
to reach out to anyone anymore, much less to show anybody trust. I just went
numb as I let my tender side die to minimize my pain. The baddies in the bunch got me so upset my grades went all to hell.
How can you help but mistrust a school dominated by bigots? To this day, I remember
a big bunch of kids spilling down the front steps cheering wildly over JFK’s assassination. But why not? No big loss to them!
At the tender age of twelve I was already tempted to just check out of a world that made me sick. I
ended up taking an entire year off from junior high and took nerve medication. The
next school wasn’t quite as horrible, though I always got picked last for team sports and I rode one school bus that
was a nightmare.
But it was “Wormwood High” that left most of the bad memories as a zoo full of self-centered
bigots and ignoramuses. Its courses (except for Math) were easy, but I always
managed to pass even that. But if other kids sense you’re a high-strung
type, they won’t be impressed by your good test grades. Once a target,
always a target.
Good grades matter today more than ever before. But asking
a shell-shocked, depressed teenager to churn out all A’s and B’s is just like expecting a marathon runner to finish
in first place with one ankle bound in an iron shackle. The ability might be
there, but bullies have bound him with their chains of hatred.
You might as well expect an Air Force pilot to make a picture-perfect landing in a battlefield after
one of his wings has been shot off. Not only that, even the weather goes against
him. It starts to hail, then a tornado rips off his other wing, sending the plane
in a tailspin downward as lightning strikes the nose of the plane. Meanwhile,
surface to air missiles keep blasting away at him from below. If the pilot ends
up a casualty of war, after bravely toughing it out all alone, can he be blamed? Man, it sure does take guts to fight your
battles all alone!
Just like a scared soldier charging the enemy on the battlefield, I forced myself to keep slogging on,
through the muck and the mire of the sinful, foul environment of Wormwood High. Lots of kids fall totally apart, though, because
they aren’t able to keep one wing functioning through sheer dogged will power . So their grades NEVER recover! Some kids can’t learn at all in a torture chamber. Still, their parents yell at them for getting rotten report cards.
“Grow up! You’re acting like a soap opera! Crybaby! What if you were REALLY suffering! What if you didn’t
have food on your plate? It’s all in your head! Get over it, or the men in white coats will take you away! You
should be ashamed of yourself! Your brother (sister, etc,) doesn’t suffer
this embarrassment! You can’t beat the system!”
Get real! Only an ostrich hides its eyes in the sand from reality. You might just as well hope terminal
cancer will go away if you just ignore it! It’s the bully who should hide
his face in shame, not his victims! Parents, you brought your child into
this world, and it’s YOUR duty to protect him, and to hell with namby-pamby politeness
or political correctness! Any parent too scared to make tough choices for the
sake of his child needs to pray for holy boldness!
I know, the System IS stacked in favor of the criminal, and it seems invincible. Parents of juvenile thugs could care less your child has been hurt. They care only for their own kid and
he (or she) can do no wrong. Their primary reason for loving their child is to them, he or she is an extension of themselves. Their offspring represents THEM at that school, and any reprimand he suffers reflects
on THEM. The love of a sinner is very selfish indeed.
Seek Compensation to Aid Your Child’s Recovery
But whenever there is non-cooperation do your utmost to avail yourself of any rights you have within
the legal system. Get legal advice if necessary, to give you every possible leverage, to combat the foot-dragging of a system
which is becoming more and more biased toward the “rights” of victimizers, rather than victims. If the bullying
has given rise to medical or dental expenses, get legal aid or no-win-no-fee
legal advice and sue the bullies’ parents or guardians to recoup expenses
of treatment plus lawyer’s fees. If the parents are cooperative, but plead
for mercy because they’re too poor to pay, don’t threaten to land them in jail, because the time might come you
yourself might need for God to forgive your debts.
Nevertheless, your child may need physical therapy, dental repairs or even reconstructive surgery because he was severely
attacked by thugs. Why should your own family have to be wiped out financially by catastrophic medical expenses because of
a criminal’s cruelty?
It could be the school itself is just as much to blame for failure to provide a safe learning environment
for your child. If so, take out a lawsuit against the school system to recover all damages incurred by their negligence. They’re
just as liable as your workplace would be if bosses refused to fire a foul-mouthed
pervert who assaulted you on the premises. Common sense tells you: why should a child get less protection under the law than a full-grown adult?
If your child’s injuries were inflicted on the bus
because the driver refused to put the bully off, sue the bus system. But take
some kind of positive action. Do the very thing I was too scared to do when I was a teenager: Make plenty of noise! Pull back
the rug and expose the cockroaches underneath! Share your story with the local media (if they are sympathetic). If the local paper won’t help, seek other outlets for airing your grievance. This could make a big
difference to some other child if it became common knowledge that people are fed up with school bullying and will take it
no more. Declare a war on bullying. Be a pillar in your community who’s
got principles he’s willing to fight to defend. All that is necessary for
evil to triumph is for decent people to do nothing.
Compile any medical records or other available evidence requested by your attorney. Find witnesses and ask them to come forward. Maybe other kids have been bothered by the same bullies. It
could be the bullies’ parents won’t worry about their child’s behavior until it hits them where it hurts
the most, in the wallet! That’s a terrible thing to have to say, but lots
of folks love their precious money more than anything else on earth!
Your Child’s Enemies Need God’s TOUGH Love
Now don’t tell me that’s breaking Jesus’ command to love your enemies and pray for
God to bless them. When Jesus said we had to love our enemies He didn’t
mean we’re supposed to bless their wicked ways and pray they would prosper in their wickedness. Jesus didn’t mean we should pray that God would give them the means or strength to do even more harm!
What I suggest is the same kind of tough love God uses on His own children sometimes. Remember Kind David in II Samuel Chapters 11 and 12? The sweet singer of Israel, he
was called. One of the greatest saints of ancient Israel. The type who’d
always be first to file into church and last to leave. David not only sang in
the choir, he directed it himself and composed the choir’s repertoire. But
Despite His devotion to God David stole Uriah the Hittite’s
wife and then plotted his death. If David’s moral restoration hadn’t involved tough love, the Prophet Nathan might have told him: “Aw...that’s
all right, Your Majesty, no sweat, man.
Jesus loves you anyway. It doesn’t matter what you did, it’s
all water under the bridge. And if Uriah were still here, he’d just
let it go. After all, he’s in a far better place now, so maybe you did
him a favor by bumping him off. Don’t dwell on it. The Lord bless you real good, brother.”
David was forgiven but he didn’t get off that easy. Lessons
had to be learned so he got on the receiving end of God’s tough love. David reaped what he sowed, not because God is
a meanie but because the integrity of God’s Holy Law had to be upheld. David
was protected from the penalty of his sin: eternal death; but he wasn’t spared the temporal consequences of his actions. Bullies, like everyone else, need to learn that life is not a computer game and actions
have consequences. They need tough love, not a nod of one-size-fits-all acceptance.
Bullies need to learn to be responsible and considerate members of society. Mollycoddling
them in the Name of Jesus does them no favor.
It does not prepare them for the probability they will go to hell to suffer God’s everlasting vengeance.
Contrary to popular belief, the God of Love does not throw a blanket amnesty over all unrepentant evildoers,
any more than He is behind the lenient sentencing of hardened bullies. Denial
of God’s justice is denial of His Holiness!
In Ezekiel 13:22 God denounces lying prophets who promise the wicked leniency.
These popular prophets only strengthened the hands of the wicked to commit further wickedness by telling them God didn’t
much care what they did, so He’d let them off easy. When a gutter rat knows he ain’t got nothin’ to lose
by staying what he is, he’ll only sink lower in the sewer of sin.
Where it concerns protecting your loved ones, be a man (or very strong woman), not a mouse. Don’t ever threaten violence or mayhem, but be very assertive ( I Cor. 16:13) Yell, scream if you must, there’s no law against getting loud. Even God gets mad at evil and raises
His voice against it (Isaiah 42:13; 58:1; Jeremiah 6:11; Nahum 1:2; Zephaniah 2:3) A
woman must be as iron-willed as a man in times of crisis! Don’t be too
chicken to peep a protest!
Some Practical Suggestions
If possible, switch your child to another school to give the child a fresh start. After the first week or so, get some feedback from his teachers, who can point out any problems. Take any
practical measures needed to nip any new problem in the bud before it spirals out of control. If your child is ready for such
a thing, get him involved in one or more wholesome extra-curricular activities of his choice, e.g. music or drama club, where
he might cultivate solid friendships by working in a group setting with others toward the same worthwhile goal. If your child
has any pals or friendly acquaintances in his class, encourage the cultivation of these relationships. You could ask your
child to invite a couple of other kids over for a sleepover, barbeque or other happy event.
If you have switched your child to a new school and he is happy there, don’t even THINK of sending
him back to the old one! One mother I read about had her severely bullied son
transferred to a new school where things went just fine. Then she remembered
he would only end up going to the same high school with his former tormentors. So
she switched him back in hopes he’d eventually make friends with the bullies.
But the bullies saw this as weak capitulation. Instead
of a beating the poor kid, this time they blinded him in an attack! And what
justice was meted out to the ringleader? A piddly two years’ probation! I can picture that young criminal
patting himself on the back for pulling that off!
If keeping your child in school jeopardizes his safety, by all means his safety must come first, even
before a conventional education. Remember, God has entrusted YOU, not some
government, with this precious life you brought into the world!
If you have the resources and time (especially if you’re a two-parent family who can manage on
one income) consider tutoring your child at home.
If both of you must work, perhaps you could do this in the evening. That’s
not timidity, that’s common sense. Any smart general will resort
to a tactical retreat until he gets reinforcements and can face the enemy again. And
consider this: Is the soul any less
real than the body? Protecting a child’s wounded heart is no different
from keeping the weight off a broken
leg. Victims of verbal abuse can’t just “snap out of it”. They need time to heal.
In the worst-case scenario, school officials might look
the other way and pretend not to notice their school is a haven for bullies. But don’t buy unnecessary trouble. Never
cross government authorities unless they drag their feet about cracking down
on the bullying problem, or otherwise hinder your efforts to protect the well-being of your child. If continuing in a conventional
school environment is no longer an option for your child, notify school authorities of your intention to home-school, in accordance
with local law. Get expert advice on curriculum content and standards which need
to be maintained in enacting your home schooling program, and on helpful resources: e.g. wholesome educational web sites,
appropriate text and work books, library resources. If you are deficient in disciplines like math or science, enlist the help
of a paid tutor if at all possible. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a network of supportive friends or relatives,
and some of them have excelled in subjects you never conquered. Maybe one or
two of them will gladly lend a hand tutoring your child as his or her contribution
to the War On Bullying.
One idea would be to organize an educational co-op with parents of other children who for one reason
or the other, can’t attend a conventional school. But only a calm, confident, dependable type of person should help
home-school other people’s children. ONLY adults known to be morally sound and responsible should be included in such
a project! If you are a Christian, perhaps your local church could organize a home schooling co-op, if a great enough need
for one exists. At least two people should be on the premises at all times, and
for the sake of propriety, men should not tutor mixed-gender or all-girl groups alone.
They should be assisted by their wives. Especially in the case of Christians,
a married man or woman should obviously not work alone all day with someone of the opposite sex to whom they are not married.
If the male tutors are single, they should have the assistance of two or three other women, preferably women at least thirty
years older than themselves, ha! Seriously, all appearance of evil should be
avoided (I Thes.5:22). It is essential to have at least one other person nearby to help with any emergencies that might arise
from being responsible for a whole group of children. Younger kids, especially, can get rowdy or get into something when your
back is turned.
A “school pool” would be a nifty name for this tutoring co-op. A school pool would be organized on the same principle as a car pool or baby-sitting pool. Everyone benefits
all the time and contributes some of the time. It would especially be suitable
for those parents who are self-employed or have very flexible work schedules, or for part-time employees or stay-at-home moms.
Christians who started a school pool and allowed those of other faiths to join could make it clear that Jesus’ Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is to be strictly
observed (Matt.7:12). Discipline of students should be agreed upon from the outset.
Loss of privileges, detention, or writing sentences could be possible punishments
Enrollment could be limited to five or six children per group (or even fewer), so as to ease the burden
on parents’ work schedules and help prevent parental burnout. Each parent/educator
would take his or her turn to tutor the kids and provide lunch for them. Tutors can take advantage of online assistance for
those subjects which are challenging. One advantage of home schooling is extra flexibility in which subjects are studied on
any given day. Say, you’re excellent in English but John is a whiz in math
and algebra. “Math Day” would fall on John’s tutoring day. If any time is left over after each child finishes his or her math assignment, the
rest of the day could be used for art projects, crafts, or whatever enrichment program the child is interested in at his or
her own age level. Each child could learn at his or her own pace, using online
resources. Each computer-literate child would need to bring his or her own personal laptop to sessions. Legal requirements
for getting a permit for such a School Pool Co-op would need to be checked out first, to comply with local government regulations.
Granted, a lot of poor parents can’t stay home to teach their kids. They’re in a real bind. They’re out working all
sorts of crazy hours, often moonlighting to survive. The cost of living is way out of control, and millions of harried parents can barely find the time to do the grueling job of overseeing the education of their kids and being there for them
with a kiss and a cookie. Many can’t even pay for basic child care. A kid
left to raise himself makes a poor substitute parent. He is unlikely to teach
himself right from wrong or discipline his own behavior. The spiritual consequences of this sad scenario can be disastrous
(Prov. 29:15). Inability to be there for the kids is one of the hardest burdens
of the working poor in America.
But in the case of affluent parents who give climbing the corporate ladder a higher priority than family life, “having it all”
is far more important than raising the kids they brought into this cruel world
and teaching them to be good citizens. Talk about immaturity.
The biggest tragedy is kids having kids. There are some excellent teenage mothers out there who make heroic efforts to do the best they can for their kids. But there are others who
view babies as a cute fashion accessory. Having one is a rite of passage in their
peer group. With their confused concept of what love really is, these young girls are
too immature to know how to raise their children to be loving, considerate people.
Continued in Chap 10-Part 2