There is a lot of talk about 'Bullies' these days. Sometimes, when I talk to people about the Gospel, the person I am talking to says that God is a 'Bully'. But is that true?
Here is an internet definition of a bully: a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.
synonyms: persecutor, oppressor, tyrant, tormentor, intimidator;
tough guy, thug, ruffian, strong-arm;
So, why would people say that God is a bully? Does God use His power and strength to harm us? Does He use His power and strength to intimidate us?
First, we have to decide if God is bigger and more powerful than we are. Second, we have to decide if God is good and desires to bring good to His people. Third, if God is bigger and more powerful than we are, and if He desires to bring good to His people, we have to determine who His people are. Fourth, if we have determined who His people are, and we realize that we are not counted as one of His people, then how can that change?
First, looking at evidence around us, we can see design, order, and even artistry in creation. There is no question about God being the creator of everything. He created all the germs and bacteria as well as all the stars and galaxies out there. He created human beings with all their unique individual traits and characteristics. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..." Genesis 1:1
Second, although life can be very hard at times, God promises to be with those who are His. He promises to take care of them and will use everything for the good of His people and for His glory. He is in complete control of everything going on, and knows about every detail that happens to His people. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." Romans 8:28-30 ESV
Third, who are those who belong to Him? The Bible makes it clear that we do not belong to Him until we put our faith in Jesus Christ and turn from our sins. We have to understand that sin separates us from God and we are under a curse until we respond to Him. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life on earth and died to take our sins completely away. When we trust in what He did on the Cross for us, and leave our lives of sin, we can be made right in God's eyes. Not only that, but He will give us power to say 'no' to the temptations of sin, and to say 'yes' to Him and live a life of obedience to Him. Those who refuse to respond to God belong to the devil.
"Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:42-44 ESV
Fourth, the Bible says that we all must be born again. We must be born into God's family in order to have God as our Father. "Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 ESV
So, is God really the Bully here? Here is the story in a nutshell:
God created people and His creation was good. The devil was thrown down to earth because he rebelled against God. The devil lied to Adam and Eve about the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve listened to Satan instead of obeying God. God placed a curse on the earth, on man, on woman, and on the devil. But, God also promised the man and the woman that He would send Someone to rescue us and destroy the works of the devil.
Ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the human race has been in chaos. The earth has been in turmoil. God promises that all the will be restored one day.
Every human being born since that time has been born with a sinful, selfish heart and needs to be redeemed. Throughout the Old Testament, God gave clues about the One He would send to redeem us and to eventually restore the earth and creation. Around 2,000 years ago, God fulfilled that promise by sending His Son to earth to live among us. His Son lived a perfect life, but was killed by sinful men. He died willingly in order to take the punishment for all of our sins, upon Himself. God the Father placed every sin on His Son, when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus did not stay dead. He was buried and arose from the dead on the third day after He died. He is alive today and will return to earth to receive the people who are His.
The real bully in this situation is the devil. Just as he lied to Eve in the Garden, he still lies to us today. He would like for you and me to believe that God is a bully. The devil has some control over you and me. Whenever we choose to believe him instead of believing what God says in His word, we have fallen prey to the devil's desires.
Remember, a bully isn't an all powerful being who desires good for His people. A bully is someone who has some power and takes advantage of those who are weaker. The bully doesn't desire anything good for those he is bullying around.
If you choose to continue to reject God and what He has done for you, you will be subject to Satan. There is no other way around this. You can call God a bully all you want, but in the end, you are doing Satan's will, not God's. By threatening God with your rejection of Him, puts you under God's curse, by default. God is not a wimp, nor is He a Being who can be swayed by our manipulation. God calls the shots. We don't. But God is good and wants good for all His people.
We are either inside God's boundaries or we are inside the devil's boundaries. Which one will it be for you?