A guide to dealing with bullying that draws inspiration from biblical stories.
In her direct, punchy nonfiction debut, Reese focuses on a seemingly universal element of human society: the bully, the braggart, the person who takes advantage of others. In the author’s view, bullies can take many forms: “They can be an irascible, hot tempered person in the mall parking lot,” she writes, “a fellow customer waiting in line at the DMV, or the person sitting behind you at the movie theater, who is quick to pick a fight with a perceived weaker person.” To illustrate how to deal with such people, Reese enlists a handful of famous stories from the Old and New Testaments. She talks about David and Goliath, of course, but also about David and King Saul as well as a trio of biblical “mean girls”: Peninnah, Jezebel, and Athaliah. She writes about King Herod the Great and his descendants, and she concentrates on the persecution of Jesus Christ, whom she refers to as “our perfect example of victory over bullies.” As that description makes clear, some of the author’s readings of Scriptural readings may be problematic for some readers; for example, Jesus was horribly beaten, scourged, and crucified by his bullies before his eventual victory. Also, in her retelling of the story of Moses in Egypt, she describes Pharaoh as “a malevolent bully boss” whose belligerence and short temper were illustrated by his refusal to free his Jewish slaves. As Reese jubilantly points out, “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart for the purpose of glorifying God’s awesomeness while simultaneously giving the foolish Pharaoh a divine bully beat down!” It should be remembered, though, that part of God's “divine bully beat down,” in this case, resulted in the deaths of thousands of Egyptian first born males. Still, the author’s reassurances, such as “God will help you no matter where you are,” will doubtless comfort fellow believers, as will her book’s general tone of optimism in the face of confrontation.
An often helpful work that uses the “bullies” and “mean girls” of the Bible to show readers how to overcome their modern-day counterparts.