True bullies are intimidators. They use some kind of force or the threat of pain to dominate another person. They seemingly take away the choice of a “powerless” person.
So what does all the talk about bullying tell us about our nation? For the most part, it comes down to “I’m not getting my way.” Dr. Larry Crabb coined a term many years ago called “demandingness.” The more a person or a group of people expects to get its way, the more demanding it becomes. As a nation, we have fed the beast of “the consumer is always right.” We definitely have been trained to believe that we should always get our way.
You hear it in the tone of just about everyone. Demandingness. Left. Right. We have come to believe that by being forceful, we can somehow get more of what we want … impose more of our beliefs or our way on others.
If a person wants to manipulate a temporary result, intimidation does work. In the case of dictators, that domination can even last for years and destroy entire nations or groups of nations for decades. Intimidation is a very powerful tool, but there is something more powerful.
The most powerful word in life is trust. True lasting change comes when there is a deeper connection, when there is a giving and receiving of life. For trust to happen, there has to be a valuing between two people. The one offering trust sees something in the other person that is “worth” the time and effort to sow into that person. The person on the receiving end must respect the value giver enough to open his heart to receive.
Demandingness destroys all value. Another person is only worth that person’s ability to meet the needs of the demander. When we feel the underlying “tone” of demandingness, life quickly becomes a power game. We don’t trust. We can’t trust. We shouldn’t trust. If we do, we will get run over and we will give the bully an easy pathway to become more and more selfish. It is not good for him. It is not good for me.
Trust must tell my needs to be quiet. It must look around and actually start to care about the greater good. It must see purpose and value. It has a different tone or attitude. I call it a spiritual flow because I believe that it is not just an attitude. I believe that spiritual forces like angels and demons actually connect with our attitudes to greatly multiply the anger or the ability to forgive.
Demandingness. It is at the core of most of the bullying we see today. It is a “justified” attitude on the part of many. Listening. Subjecting my needs to the greater good. Building trust. Seeing value. Working for true heart change and not just temporary assent or compliance. These are the essence of life. Demandingness is death.
Which will our nation choose? If our political discourse is any indication, we are in trouble. Those who walk with God cannot lay down and let the wicked rule (Prov. 29:27, 25:26). There must be a fight, but what should that fight look like?
We have to win hearts. In Ephesians 6, spiritual warfare looks like withstand (v. 13), stand (v. 13), and stand (v. 14). We firmly stand for what is right, but we also have the restraint not to strike back with the same tone we are receiving. We stand. We love. We value. We don’t enter in to the spiritual flows of the bully to beat the bully.
We don’t give in to the demands of another person if giving in to those demands would bring harm to him or to all of us. We offer trust. If it is rejected, we keep standing. We see value even when there appears to be none. We stand.
Somebody has to choose to be life. To be a place of integrity. To be something that could be trusted. If there is no place of trust, there can be no place of life. In the war of words, I see little that speaks with this kind of life … this kind of authority that can be trusted.
One who stands in life does speak with authority. One who is demanding can only be accommodated but accommodation will one day lead to being run over. We must learn to stand in a place of life. With a tone of life. Otherwise, how is the person “standing” any different from the bully?
Are you standing in a place that at least gives others a reason to trust you? Do others draw a sense of purpose and value from you? If so, you are a part of the solution. Let’s grow an army of people who will stand in a place of life!