Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…


June 2014

Sticks and Stones may break your bones, but words could actually kill you!!

I was watching a programme last night about the effects of bullying, what amazes me is the number of people, who the rest of the world would consider beautiful/intelligent are somehow made to feel worthless and ugly by bullies and people who you think are your friends!

Jesus had some really strong words to say about “verbal abuse” he said ” if you call your brother a worthless fool you will be in danger of going to the fire of hell!”  When I first read this I thought “that’s a bit steep!”  I know there have been moments in the past where I have said something derogatory about someones nature/personality in anger, but being sentenced to hell!

Well if you read around the verse, Jesus encourages people to deal with issues, “don’t let the sun go down on your anger“, if you have an issue with someone, you will not be able to fully be free to relax/experience a great worship service as your mind will be dwelling on the person who has wronged you!  The Lord’s prayer says “forgive us as we forgive others”, it is an action! We cannot be passive about dealing with the past.

But when it comes to bullying, what is the deal? One time I was walking home from high school and someone hit me over the head with a piece of wood , it hurt, I refused to let them know it bothered me, and then when I got home, my parents reported it to the school, I identified the “perpetrator” but as he denied it and I couldn’t be 100% sure it was him, they got away with it. In my last year of primary school, one boy gave me no end of hassle, and he gave me a thump on the back (for no reason at all!!)  I had to request that he wasn’t in my class for high school, which worked till the GCSE year, and then the verbal abuse began again.

The problem with verbal abuse is that it can easily be dismissed as “having a joke” or “messing about”, even the “victim” thinks “Why can’t I just ignore the stupid comments!“.  That is exactly what most of the comments are! STUPID!  I wasn’t the tallest of my mates, so I got abuse for that,  if I said or did something that wasn’t right in class my “mates” would rib me about it!  I moved away from their desk, over to another as soon as I was able!

Now once again I am sitting here thinking, “people have had worse lives than me, suffered more physical/mental/verbal abuse”  so I am not expecting the “awww poor Phil!” etc etc. But, I am trying to express where I am coming from!  What most of the bullies/perpetrators of abuse do not realise is that it is killing their victims inside, the number of people who have experienced a large amount of bullying/abuse who have contemplated committing suicide is immeasurable, fortunately for me and a vast number of “victims” we have had amazing support from family, one thing I will never forget being said to me by my brother was “they are the losers, you have Christ, whatever happens you are going to heaven!

My schoolmates used to invite me go out and do stuff but I always made up excuses, only once did they “trick” me into going to the cinema with them to see Gladiator, I said I had to look after my little sister, but they told me they had already booked the tickets (they hadn’t! The cheeky beggars! lol), someone else was able to look after my little sister and I went.  But in hindsight, its no wonder I didn’t want to, I had enough of their abuse from high school and one of the last times I did go out to the park with them they tried to chuck my BMX bike in the river! Is that what friends do?  Why would I put myself in that situation out of choice?

So, what is my point?

  • Bullies may appear stronger, smarter and more attractive but inside they are weaker, dumber and ugly-hearted!
  • If you know that you have ridiculed others, in jest or even knowingly wanting to make them feel worthless, then you probably have had an effect on the person you said it to!
  • Those who have suffered abuse will eventually have to deal with it at some point, a lot end up receiving counselling, some end up in mental institutions and some even succeed in committing suicide!
  • If you bottle up hurts and don’t deal with the person who is upsetting you, they will never know, if it’s a work colleague, go to the boss. At school- tell a teacher/lecturer, most schools are now zero-tolerance with bullying.  If it’s a partner/friend/acquaintance, tell them they are “out of order” and walk away! No one needs to be in a relationship with someone who is making you feel worthless and ugly!

It may not feel like it at the moment but in time you will find that the struggles you go through, make you stronger and rightly or wrongly shape your future!  I encourage you to look at the positive, God made you a gifted, beautiful person, you are an image of him!  Jesus was beaten, humiliated and rejected by the people who he loved, lived and ate with!  He knows what you are going through, he went through it too!

I know for me, nothing gives me more strength to go on and live my life in a postive way than the knowledge that God created me and he has a purpose for me, which I am still striving to work out!

The last word has to go to Christina Aguilera and her song Beautiful, whatever is said in negativity about you remember you are beautiful to at least one person- GOD!



This year there has been a lot of talk about Freedom, and quite rightly so, millions of men and animals, gave their lives in the hope and desire to keep Britain and other countries free from “Tyranny” about 100 years ago. The First World War was meant to be “The War to end all Wars“, yet 100 years later we are still having a war against “Terror“! The entry of UN troops into Iraq was questionable to a lot of people, (were weapons of mass destruction ever found?) As soon as the British and American troops announced that they were slowly removing their presence from Iraqi soil. The rebels, have started taking back what they deemed rightfully theirs!

It is said “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom Fighter”, but does this translate into how we deal with our Faith and Christianity in the world?  We can use our beliefs to “terrorise and annoy” but we can also try and “free” those who are Physically, Mentally, emotionally and/or Spiritually “captive“.  I spent time living with a former soldier in the “Umkhonto we Sizwe“, the military wing of the ANC, they caused a big nuisance for decades in South Africa, and their cause was just, equality for all races in  South Africa!  The man I stayed with was like a grandad to me (and now my kids), one of the nicest men that I have ever met!  He felt God call him into ministry in the 80’s, and stop being a soldier, he wanted to spread the message of freedom in Christ so much that when a church in the UK gave him money for his roof, which needed repairing, he instead paid for a church to be built in another village (could have been accused of misappropriation of funds but who seriously could argue with what he did?!)

Freedom, is a interesting concept, can you have too much Freedom?

  • Freedom of speech is fine, but are we free to say what we like even if it is abusive and hurtful?
  • Freedom of information is good but should we know everything about everyone? (gossip?) Do we need to know how many terrorist threats are dealt with on a daily basis?
  • Freedom of movement is great but when your only reason for moving is to take advantage of your host, is it right?
  • Freedom to bear arms can and does cause people to lose their “freedom of Life

Take a baby for example (not literally, unless you have one which is your child!) They start off innocent, free to do anything, they have been already given the “freedom of life“! Then:-

  1. When they start crawling you have to stop them from going certain places or touching things for their safety and protection, (Freedom of movement restricted, almost literally)
  2. When they are older they are free to move about the house but you still have to be careful in certain areas which are dangerous, and their language may need correcting if offensive (freedom of speech and movement)
  3. As they get even older, their “freedom of thought, belief and religion” kicks in to play, but some parents and families do not give them this freedom!
  4. Then society allows them to question their identity and gives them the freedom to be whoever they want to be, even if it wasn’t how they were born!
  5. Hopefully during this period and after, they will not lose the freedom from Slavery.  No one should be a slave but should be treated fairly!

Jesus quoted Isaiah in Luke 4:18

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,

But as Jesus ascended to heaven it is down to us to continue that work!

  • Promoting awareness of the slave trade,
  • Helping the unfairly imprisoned get justice!
  • Fighting for fairness and equality in trade and society.

The message puts it this way

Romans 6:15-18

What Is True Freedom?

15-18 So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!

If we get ourselves imprisoned in sin or even “chained” to acts which are unloving to our fellow man, Jesus can and has broken the chains and set us free, but this freedom is so that we are free to share the freedom of being god’s child not so we can try another sin or go back. Being free is knowing you are better off in Christ, better with loving support of fellow sons and daughters of christ, they can and may hurt you making you feel other chains have been put on you but Jesus has the yoke which is light and will bear your burdens too, so cast them on and be free!

Blog at

Up ↑