You're walking through the hallway at school, and a kid knocks his pack against you. Even though it seems accidental, you know it wasn't, because he's picked on you before. Do you react and give him a shove? Or do you just shrug your shoulders and walk on? Sometimes it's good to stand up for your rights, but there can also be times when refusing to react will be the better idea.
Sometimes you may be inclined to react to a family member's behavior. For example, a girl was being driven to distraction by her brother. He was always making some personal comment about her appearance, and he didn't stop with just one insult. He went on until she reacted. He thought it was very funny to see her come apart. More and more, she began to feel that he was helping her to make a fool of herself, but at first she didn't know what to do about it.
Her father began to insist that both of them read the Bible Lesson in the "Christian Science Quarterly," and as she faithfully did this, she found a particularly helpful statement from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This book was written by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper. The statement was: "There is no death, no inaction, diseased action, overaction, nor reaction" (pp. 427-428).
To her, this statement meant that God didn't create or cause any of those conditions, and particularly meaningful to her was that He didn't cause "reaction." This was really encouraging. She loved God, and since God hadn't sent the insults, she realized that she didn't need to react – to be angered by her brother. And that's true for anyone. When you're tempted to be angry and react, you can turn to God and ask Him to help.
That's what the girl did. In the past, she'd tried to force herself not to react, but now she began to pray and to trust that God would give her the strength to rely on His love and guidance, not on her will. She wanted to see that God was in control of her and her brother. She knew that her brother was sometimes a really good guy, and that helped her see him in a more spiritual way.
Since God loves all His children – you and whoever is teasing you – it's helpful to think of them that way, as loving children of God. That's the way God sees both them and you, and if you're asking for God's help, you, too, need to see them that way. That's what the girl attempted to do, even though it wasn't always easy.
Then she had a great idea. She made up her mind that as soon as her brother started teasing her, she would say the Lord's Prayer, which begins with, "Our Father which art in heaven" (Matt. 6:9). This reminded her that God was her Father and also his Father. So she could trust God to provide a way out of this bad habit of hurtful teasing. She also realized that she needed to be thinking loving, good thoughts about her brother if she was going to get this situation resolved.
Well, what happened was pretty amazing. As usual, her brother started teasing and wouldn't stop. Even though she was getting angry, she did her best to hang on to these ideas. She also remembered her mom's advice, "If you won't be teased, he won't tease you."
She was doing pretty well at not reacting, and then one day he teased her again. But instead of reacting, she felt an inner strength and calm. She put her arms around her brother's neck and said, "I sure do love my brother." The moment she responded that way, he walked away. And he never teased her like that again.
If someone is teasing you, or making things hard for you at school, you might want to try these ideas. They helped this girl, and they could help you, too.
Proverbs 3:26, Contemporary English Version