In his third sermon from the "Cool-Aid" series, Pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, urged his congregation to stop believing what society says about passivity and start standing up to bullies, and to view these challenges as opportunities from God for improvement in one's life.
"Bullies are constant. They are everywhere – from the classroom to the boardroom. From the jetway to the freeway. From the locker-room to the church room. We aren't gonna get rid of the bullies," he told the congregation, noting that there were all kinds of bullies, ranging from emotional to physical and cyber bullying.
The megachurch pastor shared in his sermon how he himself was a victim of bullying in elementary school. Young recalled how during his first year at a new school he was constantly bullied by one specific schoolmate. His father eventually trained him in boxing and told him how to stand up to the bully and hold his own. Young said he put the training and advice into action when he was again threatened with harm.
"Because I stood up to Trusdale in the fifth grade, that set the course for my toughness for the rest of my days and that crazy school system. Now looking back, that bully was a pulley that led me to the next level," Young shared, adding that the Bible lends no support for being passive in the face of conflict.
"You can not make an argument for passivity from Scripture. It's not there. No matter how much the media and our culture tells us, it is not," Young said in his sermon, which was focused heavily on the different types of bullying people endure and how the Bible helps in responding to such situations.
"I would argue that the bully in your life can be a pulley that God wants to use to take you to the next level. We all have them. Do we deal with them with fists and feet? Do we play the 'cool-aid' intoxicated mentality that goes 'well, I'm just a victim?' Because when our culture drinks 'cool-aid,' it pours in not only just sugar, but a whole bunch of victimization and they stir it around."
Using the Old Testament account of Joseph and his brothers as an example, Young pointed out that the young boy did not play "the victimization card" when his older siblings threw him in a pit and later sold him into slavery. Young suggested that instead of blaming others for his predicament, Joseph pulled himself up and did something big with his life.
Encouraging parents to tell their children to stand up for themselves, Young suggested that Joseph's situation, dire at first, was a direct example of God using bullies as pulleys to pull people up – as Joseph was used by God to eventually save his brothers' lives.
Young also noted that he was not encouraging people to give in to knee-jerk reactions nor to make excuses for not taking action and waiting for others to come to the rescue.
"I'm all for helping people – the government should, and especially churches should help people who can't help themselves," he said. "However, there are bunches and bunches of people who need to take responsibility for their lives, who need to make something happen, yet because it's so politically correct and this whole victimization thing, we've created a system that assaults achievement and robs anybody of responsibility. This is coming from our president, our government, and the media that talks about bullying, yet they are the biggest bullies around."
As a solution, Young advised those who were being bullied to "open up a can," and quoted Philippians 4:13, which reads: "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." He urged the congregation to follow the rules of "CAN," which he defined:
"'C' stands for confrontation. Confront the bullies in your life. Your kid is bullied? Encourage him or her to talk to you, talk to the authority figures, and if that doesn't work? They are going to have to literally open up a can; 'A' stands for being aware of the situation. Bless them. Pray for them, forgive them, release them; 'N stands for negotiating through the bully. To get to it you have to go through it. Se speak the truth through love. But it's time that we stand up and open up a can."
Young concluded, "Lets spit out the 'cool-aid' and drink the living water of Christ. Let's not play the victimization card and be all that God wants us to be."
In his previous "Cool-Aid" sermons, pastor Young talked first about the controversial issue of same-sex marriage and then vulgarity in society, urging people to how culture's take on these issues and instead embrace what the Bible has to say.
The entire three-part "Cool-Aid" series is available on the Fellowship Church website.