PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Growing up, there was nothing better than Saturday morning cartoons. I used to laugh my head off as I watched cartoon shows, including “Tom & Jerry.” I haven’t seen them in years, but somehow, Instagram must have known how much I enjoyed them. I had a suggestion for Boomerang Toons in my feed this morning in the form of a sponsored post.
I don’t usually click those posts, but I couldn’t resist. The clip was of a daddy bulldog, a puppy, and Tom. The daddy bulldog manhandled Tom to stand in front of a tree, then in a training moment, encouraged his young pup to bark at him. The little puppy barked his little cartoon head off, then ducked down in fear. While he was hiding his face, the daddy bulldog grabbed Tom by the scruff of the neck and threw him up a tree, before turning to congratulate his son for “scaring” the cat. After suffering what should have resulted in a serious concussion, Tom sought to reclaim his dignity by picking on someone else—Jerry. Jerry, however, wasn’t in his mouse hole, and snuck up behind Tom to mimic a dog barking. The cartoon reaction literally had Tom jumping out of his skin.
What a classic!
Of course, in this day and age, the reaction to the story would be one of horror and outrage. The daddy bulldog is teaching and encouraging bullying! Tom was a victim! The strong pick on the weak. The little puppy was being brainwashed and suffering from mental abuse by his father!
Ugh! It’s a cartoon! I don’t know of anyone who grew up to be bully, thug, or criminal because they watched a cartoon cat, mouse, and dog.
But with that said, there is a lesson.
Let’s talk about fighting a bully.
We all have an enemy who is doing whatever he can to bully us with fear. He wants us to cower and feel powerless. He wants us to think we are weak. And he would probably like to throw us up in a tree and watch our heads break every branch on the way up.
Our enemy is formidable. We shouldn’t be dismissive of his power. He is a supernatural being and the truth is, he is stronger than us.
But we have Jesus. And when we are armed with the power of Jesus, our enemy’s powers become weak. He becomes all bark, no bite. He cannot hurt us and we don’t need to be afraid.
David wrote, “My adversaries trample me all day, for many arrogantly fight against me. When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 56:2-4a CSB). And I really love verse 9, “Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me.”
“This I know: God is for me.”
What an incredible, powerful truth! And just as David claimed it, so can we claim it too!
When David wrote this Psalm, he referred to human enemies. But Paul reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12 CSB).
The reality is that we often forget who we’re fighting. We get into disagreements with other people and assume they are the enemy. But there’s a behind-the-scenes pot-stirrer who loves to stir up strife. Because when we forget who the real enemy is, we can forget to put on our full armor of God. And that’s what it takes to put that bully in his proper place.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus that He is the winner! Thank Him that He is stronger than the enemy who would bully us and destroy us if he could. Thank Him that we too can declare, “This I know: God is for me.” Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize who the real enemy is, but to remember there is no reason to fear. Thank Him that we have all we need to fight in the power of Jesus’ name.