You might say I encountered bullying before there was such a term. As a freshman in high school, I was like so many other freshman, trying to figure out where I fit in, trying to make new friends and be accepted. Unfortunately it wasn’t long into my freshman year until I had an incident that in today’s terms we’d call bullying. It was at gym class, or whatever term you call that now. My 12 X 12 locker was next to this upper classman who was bigger than me, and seemed to have a chip on his shoulder. There was no reason why but he was not happy with me. It seemed that each day he would “bump into me” as we played flag football or exercised. Well one day in the locker room I happened to back into him as we were getting dressed. He said a few choice words, pushed me and was ready to punch me. He probably outweighed me by 30 pounds, he was taller and stronger than me, but I was not about to back down. Fortunately another upper classman, bigger than him came to my rescue. He stepped in, took a stand for me and told the bully to back off and leave me alone. Man was I ever grateful that this student, whom I didn’t know! He was willing to stand up for me as I was about to get my lights punched out.
It just so happens that Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament, also needed someone to stand up for him. After his Damascus Road experience, he was in Jerusalem and the Bible tells us that the other disciples rejected him – Acts 9:26. They didn’t trust him, they knew his reputation and thought he was spying on them to add them to his list for persecution. In verse 27 the Bible tells us that Barnabas stood up for him and vouched for him.
Because of Barnabas, Paul was accepted and had support from the other disciples and as we know God used him in miraculous ways.
There are times when we need someone to stand up for us and there are times when we need to take a stand for someone else. I challenge you to be sensitive to the Lord’s leading and be ready to be a Barnabas. People around you are struggling and it may only take a kind word from you to help them get through their challenge. It may be that someone needs you to actually take a bold stand with them. Never be afraid to take a stand for truth. While we may not be remembered by others like Barnabas was, God still knows that as “you’ve done to the least of others, you’ve done to Him”.
Hope you were able to be here yesterday and if not hope you were able to join us via Facebook Live. There were some technical issues with the feed yesterday because of the ice, but most people were able to join in worship for the majority of the service. I met two couples who came yesterday and said we were the only church open and they said they would come back. We had a great time of worship as God’s presence was magnified and He was glorified.
Remember – someone around you needs you to take a bold stand for and with them. So today be courageous and rescue a new friend.