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Terminal Bullying and Unconditional Forgiveness By Patricia Backora

Ive often submitted a question to online Bible experts. But as of yet none of them has had the gumption to attempt an answer. A question which would have baffled the wisest saints God ever created. Why do they refuse to touch this question with a ten-foot pole? Because there is NO possibility of a happy ending for those affected by the situation Ive read about countless times, and nearly happened to me. The question, and its a mouthful: How can anyone be expected to forgive an unrepentant bully who has driven a loved one to suicide through prolonged, deliberate, vicious verbal or physical abuse, especially knowing their loved one was unsaved and will suffer eternal torment in hell because the bully drove them there? Unconditional forgiveness seems to be the hottest (and touchiest) topic of the hour in Christian churches and prayer groups. I may hold a minority opinion on this issue, but I doubt forgiveness of the unrepentant can be unconditional. Especially in situations where the offender has caused extreme injury and was in full possession of his/her faculties when they committed the offense. Defenders of

UNCONDITIONAL FORGIVENESS always pull this ace out their sleeve when backed into a corner: Jesus said, Father, forgive them for (BECAUSE) they know not what they do. That little word for is the key, and far from bestowing blanket forgiveness upon all criminals and offenders, it begs a question: If the vile religious leaders who persecuted and murdered Christ KNEW He was the spotless Son of God, and they killed him just to get rid of the competition, why would a just God shower UNCONDITIONAL FORGIVENESS on those despicable rats like candy? John the Baptist didnt run self-awareness seminars to make sinners feel better about being sinners. Instead, He warned about Gods fierce wrath and asked people how they expected to escape it (Matt.3:1-7). Some Biblical experts believe the most ancient manuscripts do not include that verse where Jesus says Father, forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). They think its a later addition to the text. Of the four gospels, only Luke mentions this alleged statement of Christ. It flies in the face of Jesus excoriating the scribes and Pharisees for hindering His work (see Matt.23:23). These evil men claimed they DID understand the difference between right and wrong. Christ said that if they were too blind to see this, they would HAVE no sin. But because they DID understand, their sin remained (John 9:41). If this verse IS valid, then who was Christ praying for on the Cross? For the people who had witnessed His miracles and were still scoffing at him? Maybe the pagan Roman soldiers really did think they were nailing a common criminal to the cross, but those Jews who had witnessed Christs miracles were without excuse. They DID know what they were doing! Jesus plainly said that if He hadnt done those wonderful miracles to prove that He was Gods Son, they would be blameless before God. John 15:24: If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. Jesus did not excuse the scheming, conniving scribes and Pharisees because they didnt know any better. Instead of babying these evildoers with UNCONDITIONAL FORGIVENESS, He warned them of the damnation of hell (Matt.23:33). Even the pagan Pilate bore a degree of guilt, although Jesus told him it was less than that of his betrayer (John 19:11). Far from excusing their fellow Jews for putting Christ to death, the early apostles called them

murderers who betrayed the Prince of Life (Acts 3:15; 7:52; I Thes.2:15) Maybe the Roman soldiers who crucified Him knew not what they did. At least one of them came to his senses (Matt.27:54; Mk.15:39). Even in the New Testament God could get mighty tough when He had to. For just ONE instance of lying to the Holy Ghost, God struck Ananias and Sapphira dead in front of the Apostle Peter (Acts 5:1-11). In Revelation 19 you see Jesus act like the angry lion of Judah and destroy His enemies, rather than the meek Lamb Who submitted to abuse when the time came for Him to offer Himself up for our sins. I sincerely believe thats the real reason He prayed for God to restrain His wrath against His persecutors, assuming that verse is valid. Aphiemi, the Greek word most often translated forgive, does not mean forgiveness in the sense of declaring the offender absolved of blame and restored to a faultless condition. It means to let go, or as wed say today, Just let it go or Hold off on that or Put it on the back burner, at least for now. A long time ago we kept boarders in our house. One of them said, Pat, could you hold off on doing those dishes so I can have the hot water for my shower? I did just that. The dishes got a temporary reprieve from being scrubbed. But that didnt mean I declared them clean and didnt wash them later. Aphiemi is the same Greek word translated as suffer or to allow in Mark 10:14, where Jesus says Suffer (allow) the little children to come unto Me. Jesus, if He really did say Father forgive them used that word aphiemi, which carries the connotation of restraining from punishment rather than absolving from sin. In order to pay for our sins, Jesus asked the Father to ALLOW (aphiemi) the abuse to continue. He was asking His Father to refrain from zapping His murderers, not out of sweet sentiment toward those wicked men, but because He had chosen to suffer that terrible death for our sake. Well-meaning Christians advise bullied school kids who cant escape to take abuse patiently, to ALLOW it to go on, and in that sense they apply the aphiemi verb. But school kids arent called upon by God to suffer for the sins of the world. Bullying is a profoundly evil and totally destructive, damnable crime against a fellow human. NO good ever comes out of it! Christian counselors even advise battered wives to stay with cruel husbands to glorify God by taking the abuse patiently.

They say thats a Christlike way to react to physical attacks. But Jesus was always able to escape from hostile crowds before the time came for Him to die for our sins (Luke 4:28-30). There is no record of anyone physically injuring Jesus before that time in His life. If Jesus had access to supernatural protection before His passion, then why shouldnt we? Are we greater than He is? To force a frightened child to stay in a shark pool school for months or years is to suppress their God-given fight or flight response to danger and expose them to a spirit of fear entering their lives. Nothing is worse than feeling trapped and KNOWING youre going to be hurt emotionally or physically, and its only a question of how bad it will be that day. Living in perpetual fear and danger keeps your adrenalin in overdrive and can lead to chemical imbalances in the body. Such prolonged fear can give rise to various kinds of bodily illnesses and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which fills that persons life with anxiety. Those who insist bullying is good for character development are endorsing the TORTURE of children and jeopardizing their future well-being as adults. Any evil creeps who carry out a protracted campaign of abuse against a vulnerable individual should be shipped off to jail, or at least expelled from school, not coddled with U.F.! Before His passion, Jesus lamented over the city of Jerusalem because of its rejection of Him when He would have sheltered it from the wrath to come. In Matt.23:34-39 He prophesied the citys destruction. I believe that in the first few chapters of Acts, before the stoning of Stephen, Christs murderers were given a final opportunity to repent (change their minds) and accept Christ. If theyd done so, Christ might have come back in that generation and the Romans would not have been allowed to destroy Jerusalem in 70 A.D. In the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (vineyard keepers) in Matt.21:33-44 Jesus warns that the nation (Israel) that rejects Him and abuses His servants will have their city (Jerusalem) destroyed and God will grind them to powder with His judgment. That doesnt sound like U.F. to me. Some commentators think that the offer of the Messianic Kingdom was still extended to the nation of Israel until Stephen was murdered. After that, the Return of Christ and His thousand-year Reign was put on hold. Not only that, the doom of the city of Jerusalem was sealed. Shortly after Stephens murder, God focused more on evangelizing the Gentiles, sending Philip to Samaria and Peter to the household of the Roman centurion Cornelius.

Proponents of U.F. cite Stephens example in praying that God would not hold his murderers sin against them (Acts 7:60). Stephen, like his murderers, were of the same nation, and had grown up in the Jewish religion. Jews considered themselves part of a community, or extended family. There would have been a feeling of ethnic kinship among them, more so than in a city of assorted Gentiles who had little in common. Stephen may have thought theyd been blinded by the bad teaching of the Pharisees and brainwashed into betraying Jesus and hating His disciples. In any event, even if God did forgive the murder of Stephen in the sense of holding off on His judgment, it takes the precious blood of Jesus to wash away sin, and if those guys continued to reject Christ after killing Stephen they would still land in hell. No one gets to heaven without coming to Christ, and if they try theyre a thief and a robber (John 10:1). I Cor.6:19 declares that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost. Like ferocious hunting dogs whod caught a helpless squirrel, those bloodthirsty cowards ripped Stephen apart, knowing there were many of them and one of him. Perhaps some of them were ignorant about Stephens body being a temple of God. But many, many other Christians were tortured and slaughtered by Christ-hating disciples of the wicked Pharisees who DID know what they were doing. God is no pantywaist pacifist who lets things blow over without repentance. Under the Old Covenant believers werent indwelt by the Holy Ghost as we are today. Instead, Gods Holy Presence filled the Ark of the Covenant. One man got struck dead just for touching the Ark when it was being transported by an oxcart and fell over. All the man wanted was to protect Gods covenant box from being damaged, and he suffered death for it (2 Sam.6:6-7). Dont tell me it doesnt matter what sinners do to Christians. If God took offense from a human being touching a gold-plated box, how much more must it anger Him when bullies MALICIOUSLY attack one of his own dear children, in whom dwells His own Holy Spirit! I believe that because so many Christians (temples of the Holy Ghost) were destroyed by Christ-rejecting Jews, thats why God sent the Roman general Titus to destroy Jerusalem and its stone Temple in 70 A.D. That was His vengeance on that city which had murdered Christ and martyred so many of His saints. As described in the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, the Father of the Heir burnt up His murderers city with fire.

According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Titus himself wanted to spare the Temple, since the Romans usual policy was to accommodate all gods and all religions in their Empire. They wanted to be seen as tolerant of religious freedom, so long as the Emperor and the Roman gods were likewise honored by the conquered populace. But his soldiers got out of control. Not only did they loot the gold and treasures out of the Jewish Temple, they burnt it to the ground. Some Christian Jews believed Christs prophecy of Jerusalems imminent destruction (Luke 19:43-44) and fled before Gods wrath fell. But others werent so lucky. Many died of starvation in the seige and the survivors were carried away into slavery. Throughout the Bible, especially the Old Testament, God exacts fearful retribution for sin, even acts which wouldnt make a modern courtroom judge blink an eye. A man got stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Num.15:32-36). God said that the entire congregation was to stone the man to death for picking up sticks! Im a firm believer in law and order, but its hard for me to swallow that one. God enforced the penalty of breaking the Jewish Sabbath on that man, and arent you glad we dont have to live under that same law today? Aside from the fact some of us are very forgetful and might accidentally wipe the table on the Sabbath (Saturday), wed be committing a capital crime by washing the car on that day, even of it was our only day off work! Sometimes its hard to get your head around the fact that Jesus isnt just the gentle, tender-hearted Savior Who saved us from hell. Hes the God of the Old Testament too (John 10:30). That means we have to believe Jesus is the same One Who ordered Moses to carry out the stoning penalty on that man who wasnt even being abusive toward his neighbor when he was picking up those sticks! Interestingly enough, Jesus refused to carry out the death penalty upon the woman taken in adultery (John 8:4-11). Some scholars even debate whether this particular incident is in ancient manuscripts. But if it is a true story, Jesus showed up those wicked bloodthirsty men in the crowd that they shouldnt be throwing stones until they cleaned up their own act. There were also a few instances even back in the Old Testament when God spared repentant saints the death penalty. Prime example: When David ordered Uriah the Hittite killed and stole his wife. David was forgiven by God, but ONLY after he repented. Even then, David had to reap a sad harvest of sorrow for the rest of his days. God is merciful, much more so than any of us deserve. Yet He expects repentance before He forgives. Jesus said if you dont repent youll

perish (Luke 13:3,5). Only faith in Christ, Who suffered the penalty of our sins, will bring forgiveness from God. We are one spirit with Christ (I Cor.6:17). That desire to see justice done is not satanic, God put it deep inside of us. Justice is a vital facet of Gods nature. Without divine justice this universe would be in complete chaos and the devil would win hands-down. If the Christ in us cannot remit deliberate, vicious sins without repentance, then neither can we. If God didnt overlook some man picking up sticks on the Sabbath, how can we brush off cruel, precalculated, prolonged abuse from those who do it because they fear no retribution? In order to forgive an unrepentant sinner and absolve him of the penalty of his sin (see John 20:23) you have to be softer-hearted (and less righteous) than God Who has never forgiven a single one of us without repentance. Some have told me Im bound to feel bitter if I dont forgive UNCONDITIONALLY. But I dont feel bitter, I feel BETTER than I did when I was bound by that false doctrine and wondered whose side God was on. I feel truly free now, free to know that God is still a just God and He will deal justly with my old enemies. If anything, if it were left up to my carnal nature, Id just say all that matters is the future and why not try to forgive those old ghosts of the past even if they never heard about it, just so Id never have to think about it again. But all along its been on GODS heart to settle the old account, and Hell do it in His own way and time. Satan might have his heyday for awhile, but NOBODY hurts one of Gods children and gets by with it forever. For so many years a part of me felt bound and uneasy about modern doctrines like U.F. (and seed-faith prosperity theology) being pushed from the pulpit. If you couldnt swallow U.F. (and LIKE it!) you were regarded as a backslider and in rebellion against God. I believe incalculable harm has been done to the Body of Christ by preachers misrepresenting God and His Son as sweet softies who never get tough with sinners. A vital truth: GOD IS LOVE (I John 4:8, 16) has been subtly twisted to say God is ONLY love and He never gets mad at anybody. Christians act embarrassed about the OTHER side of Gods nature: His necessary wrath upon the unrepentant. God is not some milquetoast Ned Flanders who grins all the time and never gets upset about the evil in the world. Christians are one spirit with Christ (I Cor.6:17). We have the mind of Christ (I Cor.2:16). God dwells inside each of us as Christian believers, and He dwells in us IN HIS FULNESS (I Cor.6:19; John 1:16). Not just the nice part of His nature, but that part of Him that hates sin and loves justice and righteousness. For other Christians to say Shame on

you for wanting justice, thats a selfish sin, is to put down the Christ in you Who is perfectly holy and promises to avenge His own elect (Luke 18:7; Rom.12:19). I believe that denying the justice-loving part of Christ in you or having it shamed and suppressed by other believers has caused much needless inner conflict and depression in the lives of Christian believers. The mighty Lion of the Tribe of Judah has been turned into a feeble kitten too weak to utter a feeble protest against wickedness in the world. All I know is, Jesus didnt hand out smiley face stickers to the buyers and sellers in the Temple to show how much He loved them. Christians who try to toe the party line of U.F. often have to hold their nose while doing so because something smells fishy in Denmark. Many have testified that when old feelings of wanting justice resurface they have to forgive again and again and again. But something doesnt compute. Its like forcing yourself re-swallow rancid food after your body keeps vomiting it up to protect itself from being poisoned. Its like trying to force my computer to accept a program file which it finds incompatible and keeps rejecting again and again. A God Who loves mercy and hates justice? That aint the God of the Bible. If you refuse to forgive a REPENTANT offender, thats one thing. But those uneasy, queasy feelings about U.F. dont come from your selfish carnal nature. The Lord is trying to tell you something, even if its different from what 99% of church Christians have been taught. Psalms 45:6: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. In case anyone thinks God changed his views in the NT, this verse is repeated in the book of Hebrews: Heb.1:8: But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Notice in Heb.1:8 that the SON (Jesus) is being addressed in this passage. Not only does Christ love righteousness, he hates sin! This hatred of sin doesnt make Jesus bitter. It fills Him with joy! And for

those who question whether Jesus is God, verse 8 speaks of HIS (Gods) throne being eternal with a scepter of righteousness. Psalms 149:5: Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; 7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; 8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD. Verse 9 says that this honor (of executing Gods judgment) belongs to ALL Gods saints, and I dont see any expiration date on this passage which says Church Age saints no longer have this privilege. As Paul teaches, we are not to take our own vengeance, nor are we to harbor festering hatred toward any. The best we can do about the unrepentant is to turn them over to God, calmly trusting that He will do what is right and good. Some say all vengeance is a sin. But the Bible makes it clear that vengeance WILL be taken by God on the unrepentant (Rom.12:19). God is a just Judge, and those who will not let Him be their Savior will have to face Him as their Judge. Its their choice. Unfortunately, all the cool crowd cares about is pleasing their friends, and theyve got a macho image to protect. When someone is bullied or otherwise abused, modern Christians rush to the defense of the guilty party and the first thing that comes out of their mouths is to tell the traumatized victim: Hurry! You must forgive that person or God wont forgive you! Even if the victims wounds are still fresh and raw. Even if the offender is glad he made his victim suffer, even if the offender is too wicked to repent. Seems like the comfort of the sinner must always come before justice and restoration of the victim. Even if that victim is dead because someone elses abuse drove them to take their own life in order to escape when, overcome by pain and fear, they could see no other way out. I call any bullying which ends in the death of the victim terminal bullying. Whether the victim dies as a deliberate result of physical injuries directly inflicted by the bully or takes his/her own life because the bully chased their victim over the cliff of desperation, its the end of the road for that poor tortured individual.

The line between an eternally fatal sin and heroism can sometimes be blurred. I heard a story in church once. Back in the days of the Roman Empire, some Christian slave girls were about to be sold into a whorehouse. These godly girls realized this could have destroyed them spiritually as well as morally (I Cor.6:15-19). Rather than go through such a damning experience, they jumped off a high cliff to escape. Did those poor scared girls go to hell for protecting their own chastity? Somehow I doubt it. One of the most unforgettable novel scenes Ive read was the flight of Eliza in Uncle Toms Cabin. Eliza is a slave who belongs to a kind family who has been very good to her. But her master has fallen on hard times because hes made some bad investments. His creditor threatens to take everything he has unless he coughs up the cash. Elizas master has been pressured into selling Uncle Tom. And Elizas little four-yearold son, Harry. Eliza finds out about it in the nick of time. She has no husband to lean on because he has just fled his own cruel master to head north to the free states. She has no one to lean on but herself and God. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the book, writes a bold story but to stay within the boundaries of good taste 19th-century style, doesnt quite spell out what she means by Harry being in danger of moral and spiritual ruin by being sold downriver (probably in New Orleans). Harry is a good-looking child, and good looks bring nothing but trouble to slaves. Harry would probably be abused by perverts in order to bring financial gain to his new master. Eliza has been raised as a Christian and would rather die than see the ruin of her childs soul. Terrified, Eliza steals away in the night and flees on foot to reach the Ohio River. If she crosses it shell leave the slave state Kentucky and enter Ohio, a free state. Eliza looks white, and so does her child. So she is able to stop at a tavern to rest once she reaches the river, without raising suspicion. But the river itself prevents an easy escape. No one can ferry her across because its packed with broken ice. So she intends to wait till evening, when, she is told, some man might be running a load of freight across. But Eliza spots her pursuers outside her window. She picks up her sleeping child and flees out a side door which faces the river, which is churning and bobbing with broken ice floes. Ahead of her lies uncertainty and danger. Behind her is the slave catcher, full of fury and eager to sell her tiny innocent son, most likely to pimps in New Orleans.

Eliza has no choice. She must either brave the river or her child is doomed. Unfathomable fear propels Elizas flying feet out onto the bobbing, freezing ice cakes. With superhuman agility and strength, all the while carrying her child, Eliza springs from one ice cake to the next, on and on till she reaches the Ohio shore. As if in a dream, she finds herself being pulled up the bank by a sympathetic bystander. Eliza and Harry start on the long road to freedom. Later when asked by a sympathetic white woman why she attempted such a dangerous stunt, Eliza says the same thing as her equally desperate husband who flees his own sadistic master: If they hadnt succeeded in escaping, the worst that could have happened to them was to die. Some might object that Eliza risked her own life and that of her child to cross the river, and the odds of their surviving were so miniscule it amounted to a suicide attempt. Some might say the Christian girls who jumped off the cliff were absolutely guilty of suicide, unforgivable by God who makes no exceptions. Each case was a desperate attempt to flee a fate worse than death, a situation imposed on them by inhumane oppressors. And what about Samson, who brought down the Temple of Dagon, not just upon his enemies, but upon himself? Samson is listed in the Faith Heroes Hall of Fame (Heb.11:32). When I was a teenager, I knew what it was like to feel driven to my personal river of desperation by oppressors. Hopelessness before me, bullies behind me. May God have mercy on all those who are so tormented they fear life more than death. May the just Judge of all the earth call all such oppressors to account one day. He has promised to put an end to evildoers who refuse to put an end to their evildoing. Psalms 34:16: The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. Psalms 109:15: Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. Psalms 37:9: For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. Verse 28: For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. 10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

Psalms 143:12: And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant. These are prayers and meditations of David. He was a righteous man and I expect to meet him in heaven someday. When bullying results in suicide, in the final analysis its the bullys fault the victim dies. One of the tactics used by Plains Indians in buffalo hunting was to chase the buffalo herd over the edge of a cliff so the beasts would be weakened and easier to kill. The Indians did not even have to touch the buffalo to cause its death through falling. All they had to do was frighten the creatures, who were so overpowered by fear they didnt know there was a sheer drop just ahead. But the Indians still killed the buffalo because they knew what the consequences of scaring it over the cliff would be. At least the Indians had the excuse of needing the buffalo for food. But bullies kill just for the hell of it. They put a spirit of fear on their victims. They rip the self-esteem and peace of their victims to shreds. They turn happy, contented kids into frightened deer hiding from the hunter. Bullies KNOW theyre worrying their victim so much that fear overcomes all rational thought. And because the victim looks or acts scared, theyre accused of being crazy, by students and sometimes by teachers. All the victim wants is to flee their abuse any way he/she can. Forced by parents and authorities to stay in a torture chamber school, there IS no escape. Faced with the prospect of being severely humiliated or beaten up yet another day while authority figures make excuses for the perpetrators or pretend not to notice, the poor bullied kid may see no other way out but death.

At one Bible study the leader asked everyone to name something that had made them mad. I said I remember being mad about being bullied in school, and you guessed it! He asked Did you forgive them? I ended up saying Im no better than God, Who only forgave me after I repented. Furthermore I said the bullies almost drove me to suicide, and what if Id gone to hell for it? The man looked at me like I was talking Greek. It didnt register. All he did was stonewall away my point. Ever notice that when someone who holds an opposing opinion cant answer your argument, theyll just ignore your question and go back to square one to try to wear you down, even when their scriptural support is absent or very shaky? No matter what youve gotta forgive them, that man insisted as he dodged the deeper issues and trivialized old wrongs that were never made right. That begs still another question. What if the bullies had driven me all the way to hell and I did try to forgive them, even there? Would God have let me out of hell as a reward? Lazarus, the poor beggar of Luke 16, endured a miserable life on earth: poverty, hunger, friendlessness, homelessness, sickness. But at least the tables were turned after he died and he went to a better place. People who commit suicide because other peoples abuse drove them to it, what hope do they have for a better afterlife if God will condemn them to hell for murdering themselves? Its debatable whether even a

Christian can be forgiven by God if they get so depressed by overwhelming problems that they take their own life. Christians dodge difficult questions, and in so doing, they fail (or refuse) to see sin as the horribly destructive evil it is. That would shoot even more holes in their favorite U.F. sacred cow. If you admit that you believe only in CONDITIONAL forgiveness based on true repentance, some judgmental Christian will jump on that and say you dont believe in forgiveness AT ALL. Thats just as ridiculous as saying that a woman who didnt pay some plumber who refused to fix her sink didnt believe in paying her bills! While you can set the offense on the back burner, turn them over to God and harbor no malice, true forgiveness in the sense of absolving the abuser of the offense is a two-way transaction, contingent upon repentance. Jesus said in Luke 17:3 IF THY BROTHER repent, forgive him. If Jesus put a condition on forgiving a brother (fellow believer), why would He expect you to treat one of satans people any better? An evil unrepentant bully is a criminal, and no brother of mine. I do not have to forgive an unrepentant bully (CRIMINAL), and some sinners are so evil God may not even lead you to pray for them, knowing they are so given over to evil and hardened in their sins that they are beyond all hope of salvation (I John 5:16). Even then, only God knows for sure and He judges on a case-by-case basis. Well-meaning Christians do bullying victims no favor by telling them that unless they forgive even the most vicious, dangerous unrepentant bullies (criminals) God wont forgive the victim and theyll go to hell. The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matt. 18 is used as a shaky support for unconditional forgiveness of the unrepentant. Those who pressure victims of crime to immediately and totally forgive their assailants or else go to hell ignore most of the context and zero in on on verses 34-35 where the Lord of the servants delivers the Unmerciful servant over to the tormentors (satan and his demons). But lets look at the facts about this parable: 1. This parable was prompted by a question Peter had about forgiving a BROTHER. Unrepentant men of violence are NOT my brother. Theyre children of a different daddy, satan (John 8:44; I John 3:10). 2. The fellow servant was just that, a fellow servant. That evil thug on the street is not a fellow servant of mine because he serves a different master, the devil. 3. The fellow servant ASKED for forgiveness.

4. It wasnt a malicious, violent crime the Unforgiven Servant committed against the Unmerciful Servant, simply inability to pay back a money debt. Even if it had been a moral offense rather than a monetary debt, the offense should have been forgiven after being repented of. REPENTANCE is the key to being forgiven. Repentance was preached by John the Baptist, by Jesus, the prophets, and the New Testament apostles. But this vital doctrine is being neglected in favor of Gods UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE OF ALL MEN, some of the deadiest, most deceitful heresies satan has sneaked into the latter-day church. And WHY are they so deceitful? Because it seems like a very loving thing to do, to grant everyone under the sun UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND FORGIVNESS without their having to FIRST repent! In fact, thats the LEAST loving thing you can do to an offender, to mislead him into thinking there is no need to repent in order to be accepted by God and go to heaven. That person could land in hell because you killed his hopes of salvation with so-called kindness. Forced, contrived love or forgiveness which is done solely to avoid going to hell isnt much different from having a rapist hold a knife to your throat to force love out of you. Forcing empty professions of love or forgiveness out of someone elses wounded soul through threats is not the way God operates. If a sinner or backslider were to use that parable to DEMAND instant forgiveness out of a frightened Christian, it would be like an attacker ripping a beautiful garment off a woman with his filthy hands. Thats a further act of violence against an injured soul. Such forgiveness becomes a soiled, torn, wretched thing instead of a gift of grace. Jesus said for us not to throw our holy things and our pearls before dogs and swine, and He wasnt talking about Snoopy and Porky Pig (Matt.7:6). Christian love and forgiveness are spiritual treasures, and unrepentant criminals are NOT entitled to demand them from a child of God! God doesnt force us to treat unrepentant bullies and criminals better than members of His own family, who are expected to repent whenever they louse up. Some maintain that passive submission to prolonged abuse is a vital part of discipleship. But Jesus instructed His disciples to FLEE to another place if they were persecuted (Matt.10:23). Can a bullied child flee? So much for school always being an ideal mission field! Little children and helpless teenagers are forbidden to flee their persecutors at school, and if they do they get into big trouble with the law for truancy. Bullied kids get caught between a rock and a hard place, and

the results are tragic. Pearls are very precious and beautiful. But they are not hard as iron, and can be easily crushed. Did Jesus Himself submit to all the abuse His persecutors decided to heap on Him? Not until the time came for Him to pay for our sins by dying on the Cross. Up until that period in His life, Jesus rebuked those who insulted Him and told them where they were going. Lets examine a few passages. John 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the

prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. In verse 41 he hostile Jews accused Jesus of being illegitimate. In verse 48 they accused Him of being a demon-possessed Samaritan. Samaritans were the picked-on rejected outcast race in Jesus society. His Jewish persecutors bragged that Abraham was their father, but Jesus said their father was the devil. Jesus didnt just stand there and take any abuse that crowd decided to dish out. JESUS HID HIMSELF when the crowd picked up stones to cast at Him, and managed to escape. In Luke 24:28-30 Jesus escaped another hostile crowd that wanted to throw Him over a cliff. Again, He got away, unharmed. How many persecuted children are told to quit whining about the bullies and take it like a man? How many Christian kids are told by well-meaning parents that they have to suffer all the abuse the devils crowd decides to dump on them because this is being Christlike or suffering for the glory of God? Remember, JESUS HID HIMSELF AND ESCAPED UNHURT! Unless God has called you suffer painful persecution for Jesus, you should expect to do the same thing, and expect that your own precious child also has the right to Gods protection. But how can God protect your child when adults who hold authority over him/her wont cooperate and provide a safe learning environment at school, or alternative education in the home? Jesus hid. But where can bullied children hide? How can ONE defenseless child get away from a mob of bullies who want to rearrange his face and put him in the hospital? If submitting to abuse is a qualification of Christian discipleship, why didnt Jesus Himself do this before it was time for Him to die for our sins? Are we, His disciples, to be better than He was? Are WE sent by God to pay for

other peoples sins through our suffering? Nonsense! Herod and evil religious leaders tried to kill Christ, but God always made a way of escape for Him. God even promises a way of escape for us when we have reached the limits of our endurance (I Cor.10:13). There is NO record of Jesus being tortured by sinners until His Fathers chosen time came for Him to submit to their abuse to purchase our salvation. If, before that time, Jesus had always managed to escape from violent sinners, then how can Christians justify forcing defenseless children to suffer physical and emotional harm at school year after year, with NO way out? Such children languish in a pressure cooker hell for weeks, months, even years on end because indifferent adults FORCE them to suffer and FORBID them to be safe from criminal bullies. Such adults are BULLY ENABLERS who aid and abet satan in his evil ministry of steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). People who tolerate evil perpetrated upon defenseless kids arent toughening them up. Theyre destroying their kids emotionally, psychologically, maybe even endangering their lives. If some adult went to work and shouted racial abuse at a co-worker or destroyed their personal property, or fired sharp pencils at them, that joker would probably end up in jail, especially if there were witnesses or he was caught on camera. So why is it okay for kids to commit the same acts of verbal abuse and assault which would land grownups in trouble with the law? And why do Christians expect their abused loved ones to bend their backside to a devil who kicks them all the way to the Cliff of Destruction?

Jesus wasnt ashamed to teach repentance like He meant it. He indicated that godly people and unrepentant sinners were to be treated differently. He said unrepentant Christians were to be shunned and treated like sinners (Matt.18:17). Because the love of Jesus is in our heart, we love our brethren and want to forgive them IN RESPONSE TO REPENTANCE because Christ lives in them and theyre our brothers and sisters in the faith. Its a deadly serious crime against humanity to drive a person to their grave through cruelty and abuse. Christians stand on the sidelines with their hands tied and just watch. Rhonda begins life as a loving, smiling baby, who brings happiness to her friends and family. Oh, she goes through her terrible twos just like most other kids, but before she starts school Rhonda is content with simple pleasures of life. A piece of candy, a hug, drawing pictures for her parents who dote on her. Rhonda feels joy and wonderment in the sight of a new litter of puppies or the sweet singing of the birds. Rhonda enjoys learning and asking questions. Rhonda loves to meet people who come to the house to visit her parents. In short, Rhonda is a very happy little girl who loves life. Rhonda doesnt fare too badly in elementary school. But shortly after starting junior high, her dad gets sick and loses his job. Rhondas mother cannot work because she has two small children to care for at home, and cant afford day care. And someone has to nurse Rhondas sick dad. So money is very tight. At the vulnerable age of twelve Rhonda must buy most of her clothes at the thrift shop, including her shoes. Rhonda cant have all the electronic toys and C.D.s her classmates prize. She cant go out with them to fun parks unless somebody treats her. One day the pebble gets thrown into the pond. A rather timid classmate has mentioned to Rhonda that she ought to come to Christ. But Rhonda doesnt really understand. Shes like green fruit not yet ripe enough to be harvested by a soul winner. Rhonda needs more time to think it over. Right after that encounter, a classmate makes fun of Rhondas second-hand winter coat. The bully calls Rhonda a smelly rag bag. Remembering how much her parents had to sacrifice to buy her that second-hand coat, Rhonda doesnt take the taunt quietly. Before long the follow-the-leader circle of bullies zeroing in on Rhonda widens. Rhonda resents it, and the madder she gets, the meaner the bullies get.

Rhonda complains to her parents, who tell her to stand up for herself and quit being a crybaby. Her teachers try to humor her into rising above the abuse. Finally a boy stomps on Rhondas toes while a girl grabs Rhondas books and throws them across the street. Rhonda rants her against any god who would let all this bad stuff happen to her. The student who witnessed to Rhonda pleads with her to just be more patient and understanding toward the bullies, and try to look for good in them, because theres good in all people, even the worst of them. Rhonda ought to just be meek and turn the other cheek. Her Christian classmate doesnt want to go out on a limb and say that God is able to fight on Rhondas behalf against the devil oppressing her. So Rhonda is advised not to get bent out of shape about the abuse because after she dies a better life will be hers if only she will trust Christ for salvation. The well-meaning churchgoer, who has been raised to believe this, says God helps those who help themselves, and miracles are done away with. Besides, God is way up there in heaven, so He really cant do much about making Rhondas life any better. So Rhonda isnt much impressed by what her church friend has to offer. In her most miserable moments she yells at God and swears that she hates Him for letting others hurt her. One day a boy tells Rhonda that she ought to put herself out of her own misery because shell always be nothing but poor Ragbag Rhonda. So guess what Rhonda does? Rhonda helps herself in the only way she knows how. This green fruit never had a chance to ripen so it could be harvested into the Kingdom of God. The human spirit is resilient but even the bravest, most determined bounce-back personality will eventually crumble if enough pressure is put on it by enough bullies for enough time, which could mean weeks, months or even years. Just like the most muscular weight lifter can be broken to pieces if enough bricks hit him with enough force for enough time, an innocent soul can be forever shattered by prolonged severe abuse. Swept away in a flood of gut-wrenching, mind-numbing fear, Rhonda takes that evil scumbags adviceand a bottle of pain killers washed down with alcohol. Of course her death makes the news for a day or two and the school cries crocodile tears, pretending to be scandalized that it could ever happen here. All the teachers blame Rhonda for being a misfit who should have had a thicker hide and tried to build bridges with the bullies to turn them into friends. After all, theyre only kids who were kidding around. But even if the teachers never saw all Rhondas physical bruises, what gives people the notion that emotional bruises are imaginary and unreal? The principal pontificates on the need to learn lessons from this tragedy so well be able to move on

from here. But any lessons learned will soon be forgotten as Rhondas tormentors pat themselves on the back for a job well done and go look for someone else to hound to their grave. Mission accomplished. What is the end result of this sick scenario? Victim or bully, any person who rejects Christ and hates God ends up in hell. If God had been glorified as being a great Deliverer (2 Sam.22:2; Psalms 18:2), Rhonda might have lived to accept Christ and find peace with Him. But her probationary period on earth was cut drastically short by evil bullies, and particularly the nasty boy who advised her to commit suicide. Think of it. Rhonda might have met a wonderful Christian man someday and raised a family who grew up to love her. Children who would have given birth to succeeding generations of people who might have brought glory to Gods name and brought joy to His heart. But oh, no, God was robbed of all that by bullies! Bullies who not only killed Rhondas body but pushed her poor soul into a deeper hell. What if Rhondas grieving mother later learned what the Bible teaches about salvation and hell? What if she wondered where Rhonda went after that wicked classmate drove her to her own grave? What would she say to well-meaning Christians who told her she was obligated to forgive the unrepentant bullies who denied her child the opportunity to live longer and have more of a chance to accept Christ? If she forgave those evil people, would God reward her by giving her own dead child a second chance to receive Christ? If poor Rhonda, while languishing down below, magnanimously forgave and prayed for her tormentors, would God reward her kindness by taking her soul out of hell? Tough questions, but they only underscore the urgency for more action to be taken to combat bullying in schools and everywhere else it happens. Bullying is a health and safety violation and might be prosecuted as such by parents of bullied kids. That is IS a health and safety violation is very clear to the bruised, traumatized victim, and it is really evident on school buses, where the driver might be distracted by all the loud noises and commotion made by belligerent, screaming bullies. Not only is the bullying victims health and safety being affected, but a wreck could be caused by the driver losing control when he gets splattered by a can of soda thrown by one of the bullies. The most serious bullying offenders need to be expelled from public schools and workplaces, and banned from riding school buses. Tiny little kids get expelled for bringing politically incorrect toys to their first grade class. So why do malicious, violent teenagers get to keep on coming to school to do REAL harm?

Bullying will go on and on and on until all schools (and workplaces) adopt a ZERO tolerance policy toward bullying and enforce strict penalties. Maybe a three strikes and youre out policy should be implemented, or even expulsion for a first offense which results in serious injury. Furthermore, any teachers who are KNOWN to side with the bullies and join in tormenting vulnerable pupils should be sacked and have their pension cut for violating someone elses human rights, for aiding and abetting disorderly conduct on the job, and for helping create a health and safety violation. At least, thats the way I see it. Terminal bullying has everlasting consequences, not just temporary ones. The wonder is that its still possible for God to forgive bullies who drive others into a Christless eternity. The miracle is that God would allow such people into the very heaven they denied their victims! God may be merciful but He is not mocked.