The mama bear was coming out in me.
That little pipsqueak! That rotten little brat!!!
He’d bullied my 8 year old sons, threatened to run them down with his dirt bike, said he didn’t want them to even come into his yard, and finally intimidated the other neighborhood boy to not come over to our house anymore.
In my sin, I was already plotting how to humiliate his mother in front of the other neighborhood moms or at least plan out the things I felt she needed to hear about her dreadful 9 year old.
Now it was late at night, and my husband and I were discussing our day.
“What do I tell the boys?” I asked, secretly hoping he’d offer to have a strong word with the little imp’s father.
“You should tell the to pity him.” He responded instantly.
My jaw dropped
PITY the kid who would yell out “I don’t like you!” as he walked by our yard?
PITY the kid who said he’d steal their ball and throw it where they couldn’t get it?
I paused a moment. The wisdom of his words sinking in. Yes. My husband was right.
This angry, mean child should be pitied.
What had made a 9 year old so angry that he would pick on younger boys like this?
This 9 year old was in pain, and he needed Christ.
My sons were younger then this boy, but they were not weak, they had an eternal strength inside them that that boy could not begin to understand. They are light bearers, soldiers in an cosmic war and have access to wisdom and love that no person of their own strength could gauge.
My boys are not victims. My boys are lights of Christ to this boy filled with anger and darkness, and they could learn to depend on God and walk in His light through this opportune situation.
The next day we talked to the boys about praying for the boy down the street. They both responded with understanding and started to pray for him.
The next week one of my sons let the boy who had bullied them ride his bike down the street. My gut response was to reprimand my son. It was irresponsible to let the rotten kid use his expensive bike, but God gave me enough wisdom to recognize that my son learning to show love to an adversary was more important then a $65 bike.
My boys continued to pray for the other boy, and they were eager to share their faith with him.
It was then that it came out WHY he didn’t like them.
“Mom can we go over to that boy’s yard?” one of them burst through the back door late one afternoon. (My sons are not the best at getting names. Someday I’ll learn this kid’s name.)
“You may play in his front yard for 15 minutes.” I said. “Then it’s time to come home and get ready for supper.”
I was glad for the excuse of supper since 15 minutes was the only amount of time I wanted them to spend in that yard, and gave my son a $5 timer we use so they know when they must head home.
I started supper prep, praying for my 2 little boys 6 houses down.
16 minutes later my two flushed-faced sons re-entered the house clamoring to tell me about their conversation with the (still nameless) boy down the street.
“Mom!!” That boy said Jesus is crap! And the Bible – and going to Heaven. He said it was all crap”
They perched themselves on stools in the kitchen and started to relate witnessing to the boy when he had started to shower them repeatedly with the C- word.
– and finally the reason he had not liked them and had bullied them came out.
He was mad at us for handing out gospel tracts taped to candy on Halloween.
I was speechless. All his bullying my sons was because we’d taped a tract to his sucker on Halloween?
My sons breathlessly related the conversation (a few times), and I was pleased to hear how they defended the faith, and (seemed to have) responded with love to his attacks. They hadn’t backed down. Their argumentation style was certainly unpolished, but the heart was there, and for the most part they’d shown love and faith in their responses to the boy’s tirade.
Toward the end of their time there, the boy had apparently grabbed a toy rifle and waved it in my sons’ faces telling them it was a BB gun. (It wasn’t, but he succeeded in scaring them.)
I can’t say my boys responded completely perfectly. After relating their story to me, they got their own toy rifles and marched around the house for a few minutes declaring they’d protect us all from the boy down the street, but once we talked through again how he needed Jesus and that he was angry and was rejecting the light that was in them, they put their toys away and resolved to pray for him again.
Each night they’ve been praying for the (still unnamed) boy 6 doors done, and while I don’t know what God is going to do in the situation, I’m thankful for the growing love I see in my sons and the change God is doing in their hearts.
I’m glad at the brush with persecution my little boys have had, and I am glad they are learning to be lights while every being drawn to the true Light.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
—1 Peter 4:12-14, 16