Spiritual Practice


Steve Stein

David was the quarterback, an all-star linebacker, and the leader of a bunch of eighth graders who loved to terrorize seventh graders. I, unfortunately, was a seventh grader.

I was maybe five feet tall and eighty pounds. I got off easier than most because my cousin was in David’s class and stuck up for me on more than one occasion.

Ricky was small, had funny-looking teeth, and didn’t shower as much as he should. After too much abuse, he quit the football team; but David and his buddies still picked on him in the hall, the restroom, and outside of school. Ricky moved away after eighth grade. I hope he found peace at a different school.

As I grew up, I heard that David didn’t have the best home life. His dad and older brothers were pretty tough on him. The bully was likely the victim at home. Maybe he had good reason for the way he acted.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Romans 12:14 (NRSV)

With God’s help, I have learned to forgive, if not to forget. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve met several people like David in my life. I try to understand them and not to judge too harshly.

I’ve also known many people like Ricky. I try to offer a smile, a gesture, something to show that they are not alone. And I say a little prayer for them.


SAY A LITTLE PRAYER: Write prayers for the bullies in your school and for their victims. Include these prayers in your devo time on a regular basis.

—from devozine (September/October 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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