Years ago, when I got out of college and started living in the real world, I found myself in regular encounters with a bully. This bully was a girl who was close to my age and decidedly not on my team. She was always criticizing me to my face and to others. She would question my physical and emotional attributes that she considered better than her own. She used every opportunity in her power to make my life miserable, and quite honestly, she succeeded. It was one of those unfortunate circumstances where I was forced to be near this person whether I liked it or not, so all I could do was tolerate it and make my best effort to get out of the situation.
I eventually succeeded in getting out of that environment, or rather, she got out of it for me. What ever happened, she was finally gone! Life carried on, and I never thought I'd see her again.
After eight long years, life stages and phases later, I ran into her again at a party for a mutual friend. This go around, I was feeling much more confident and less scared of the world. I was ready to face my bully. All I could think of in my head was walking up to her and giving her a piece of my mind. I was going to tell her how she tortured me every day and what a horrible despicable person I thought she was. I imagined it for a moment, and then I prayed. "God what should I do when we face each other?"
I could run out the door…not an option because I'm not a coward. I could give her a piece of my mind, which felt really good in my head. Or, I could listen to the still small voice in my head that responded to my prayer. "Turn the other cheek."
Ah, yes. I could take door number three and choose the high road. I can forgive my neighbor as we are told to forgive, as many times as seventy times seven, or four hundred ninety times. Instantly, I knew this was the choice I had to make. As I knew my charge, I walked right up to her and did as I was commanded. I literally turned my cheek to the left as I leaned in and hugged her.
We said our hellos and caught up on the big life changes in the areas of work and family. We talked and walked away. I didn't give her a piece of my mind, but I'm certain that I'll live better with the decision I did make for the rest of my life.
How will you act if you have the chance to face your bully? Unless you are in danger or harm's way, I encourage you to turn the other cheek because you can!