The bully of 3rd grade
Last week I talked about compromise. We discovered that compromise is brought on by avoidance. Avoidance of trouble, or hardship, and most often conflict. Then we dug even deeper and discovered that we avoid because we are afraid. What a framework! All that came from the studying of the church of compromise, the church of Pergamum. This week we are looking at the next church in the series. The church of Thyatira. What a church! We have all been bullied in our life by someone. Could be an older brother, sister, friend. Some of us, all of the above. But I remember my 3rd grade bully. Let’s call him Tony. Tony was a big guy for the 3rd grade. Almost too big. At least compared to me. I was a short, thin, scrawny little fella. Tony liked a girl named Pao. Pao was the coolest girl in my 3rd grade class. Take a wild guess on who liked Pao as well. Yes, you got it, it was me. And he was always mean to me but when he found out that I could be a potential player in the 3rd grade game of love, he became a menace. Everyday something different to mess with me. Something different said to me. A push down the stairs, a trip up here and there. Nothing outside of the norm. And all because we liked the same young miss.
But one day, I had had enough. I was sick and tired of the abuse and of the shame I felt going to school everyday. So when he shoved me at recess. I shoved him back. Then he shoved me again. And I shoved him back. And onward went two little 3rd graders scraping around. Not doing any damage mind you, just a lot of motion going around. The fight ended in a draw. But I took a huge win in that moment. The win was standing up for something. The win was deciding once and for all that I was not going to tolerate this stuff anymore. I wasn’t going to continue to take a back seat while someone else drives the ship. I was done. Long story short Tony and I ended up being good friends and we ended up being more alike that we had ever realized. I look back at that moment and I have come to realize that there is so much more for me if I stand up for what is right. The moment I had enough with tolerating what was doing me harm, I had a shot at something more. More happiness, more fulfillment, and more enjoyment of my life. Yes, even at that age. The question I have for you today is what are you tolerating? What thing, idea, person, doctrine, is bullying you? What has you in the dumps? The question may be simple or it maybe more complex. But the answer is all the same. Stand up in the name of Jesus. Run to Him in prayer as your refuge and allow Him to give you the courage to stand up for what is right. To not allow this “thing” that is weighing you down to continue. No more tolerating what needs not be tolerated. The church of Thyatira made a fatal mistake. What was their mistake? It wasn’t what they did and didn’t do? It was what they allowed. This sabbath we will unpack the Church of Thyatira and unpack the church of tolerance.
Pastor Victor Reina