When you think of persecution, what words come to mind? Fear? Intimidation? Worry? Lack? The apostle Paul was no stranger to the world of being persecuted, and yet he describes it with words like joy, honor, growth, and opportunity. This generation has been introduced to an anti-bullying campaign. While I fully agree, no child should have to endure bullying. My concern is that it has taught this generation to simply raise their hand every time someone so much as bumps into them, expecting someone will come to their rescue and stop their discomfort. This generation needs to have the skill sets to deal with bullying, pressure, and real persecution.
What skill sets are needed?
Identity – You can’t fight a battle properly if you don’t know who you are (or you will be fighting the wrong battle). When words, slander, accusation, and misunderstandings happen, they become events, not defining moments that cripple your worth and value. We say OUCH and respond appropriately without cowering or retaliation. In the days to come, when your child endures challenging moments, and reacts, help them process the truth about who they are despite the events. I have empowered my children to ask, “Jesus, will You please shine Your flashlight in my heart and show me what LIE am I believing right now?” Much of the time, their above-average reaction to the situation was because they believed a lie about who they were. Break up with the lie by declaring, “I confess I have partnered with the lie that _____. I break up with that lie and renounce it (I taught my children that renouncing it was like breaking it over your leg like you would a stick).” Follow up by asking, “Jesus, what is Your truth?” The more you can help them walk through this, the faster they will be to run to Him in their moment of distress. As the kids got used to this, I would begin saying, “Why don’t you go to your room and grab your journal and talk to Jesus,” and they would ask these questions on their own. Now I don’t have to coach them because they WANT to process this with Him of their own accord. Pray for an increased understanding of who you are as a Son and Daughter.
Authority – When we learn our powerful authority in Christ, we learn how to use it in battle to fight the right enemy. We do not have authority over other humans whom God has given a free will to make their own choices, but we do have authority over the spirit realm that operates through a person. If someone makes accusations or slander against you, you can bind the spirit from using your name. If someone attempts to control you through words, you can take authority over the spirit of intimidation. I say something like, “Spirit of intimidation. I see you and do not partner with you. I break any agreement associated with my name.” Moms and dads, you have got to know your own spiritual authority so that you can empower and equip your children. Pursue understanding authority as a family.
Suffering – Yes, I said children need to learn how to suffer well. If we teach our children a life with Christ is all about the platform, fame, and blessings, we are setting them up for real failure. Following Christ means denying ourselves and picking up our Cross. Suffering to a child means not getting the cookie before dinner, having to go to bed when you tell them, or not being able to get that new toy while grocery shopping. To a child, this is a big deal. Our response should be to offer comfort and validation in their suffering, not to relieve them from the pain of suffering. Children who have never had to endure suffering, learn how to manage it and will have an incredibly hard time when real pressure and hardship come down the road. Suffering allows us to have fellowship with a Savior that understands. Talk about this with your family and how Jesus suffered, and when we walk through hard things, Jesus not only understands but we can walk with Him in it.