Mum taught me a lot of good lessons in life and in particular skills for getting along with people. In year 3 encountered my first bully. Looking back it was more a case of girls just generally being catty and do doubt I had a part to play. Regardless, there were some nasty things said and my bully went out of her way to make sure that school wasn’t pleasant for me.
Mum gave the usual advice:
“Just ingore her and she will leave you alone.”
“Agree with her when she says something nasty then she’ll be lost for what to say.”
None of these seemed to help.
The 80’s were the days of the ‘scrunchy.’ Scrunchies were hair ties made of excess material that ‘scrunched’ around your pony tail and came in lots of different colours and fabrics.
One the the awesome things about my mum was that although she wasn’t particularly crafty she could make scrunchies. I know, amazing right? Instead of the $5+ that you would have to pay for the generic six options in the store; if we went in to a material shop the options were endless. My scrunchies were one of a kind. Originals and I loved it.
After another bad day at school with my bully I came home gushing details to my mum. This time, instead of her usual advice mum suggested that we make some scrunchies give them to her as a gift.
I thought it was a terrible idea.
I didn’t want to give a gift to the girl causing me grief and I certainly didn’t want to part with a one-off ‘original’ scrunchy. I couldn’t understand why my mum was all for it. But she was the boss.
The day came and my mum had made four amazing scrunchies and I had to pick two to give to my arch enemy (ok that was a bit drastic)… to the girl that I was having trouble with.
For whatever reason, although it was as weird for the girl receiving the gift as me giving it, the gift with no strings attached totally disarmed her and she left me alone. Mum was right.
Carrying on from our last few devotions which focus on conflict in relationships, verse Romans 12:20 says:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head”
The first part seems kind whereas the second part comes across like some sort of interesting revenge, kind of ‘be nice and you’ll hurt them.’ I’m sure I am missing something- I even looked up every word in the Strong’s Concordance to find a hidden meaning. But the verse is exactly as it says. Be nice to your enemy and it will be like heaping coals on his head. The Word of God is fascinating…
Another thing I found interesting was that Paul when He wrote this verse in Romans was quoting Proverbs 25:21-22. Word for word it is the same verse. If you take a look at Proverbs 25 this recited verse is right in amongst a stream of wisdom and analogies for getting along with others. It’s a good chapter to mark when we need an encouraging reminder on how to live well with others- a real wealth of wisdom.
Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, says “buy our enemy lunch, your generosity will surprise him with goodness.’
Yep my ‘generosity’ surprised my year three bully for sure. Even if my heart wasn’t in my offering good came out of it. Maybe my own heart changed as I gave my gift. It is more blessed to give than receive. Who knows? What I do know is that we have opportunities every day to change the world that we live in, to reshape our own world, to add a little more of Jesus love where there is lack.
I wonder who you and I could ‘surprise with a little goodness’ sometime soon?
In love and kindness,
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