Monday, June 4, 2012



The last thing I expected from a writing conference was being bullied.

It was my first writing conference ever and it was on my very first day, in my very first meeting. I thought the meeting had gone okay but I had made a mistake. Within the hour, my mistake was made public when this publishing personality used it as an example of “a stupid mistake writers should never make.” The nail in the coffin was the fact that this person couldn’t believe this had happened to them once! Definitely a reference to our meeting just an hour ago. Of course it received huge laughter and I just wanted to run away.

I had a past history with bullies, having moved around so much as a kid. Someone always needed to feel special and better than the new kid.  And here at a Christian writing conference, a Godly person felt the need to get a laugh at the expense of a new writer in order to teach others not to be quite so stupid. After a few people picked up the pieces of my heart and convinced me to stay at the conference God so clearly wanted me to attend, I decided to pray for healing – for the both of us. I so wanted to bully the person back by reporting what they did to those running the conference.  I cried and prayed instead, and God used the brokenness to hold me close, assuring me that I did not want to choose to bully back. I needed to turn the other cheek and walk the extra mile by praying for them, even encouraging others to meet with this person and take their class too.

Yes, God worked on me so that the next day I went to this person’s class. It was a great class and I took lots of notes, yet what I saw there made me realize I could fill out the end-of-conference survey with a helpful rather than critical suggestion. This person had a sarcastic sense of humor and liked using bad, real life examples to teach how to write. Everyone has the potential to be a bully – it’s just sin nature to feel better about ourselves by tearing someone else down, especially in humor.

My last day of the conference was amazing, a bookend for my first day of stupid mistakes. The editor I really wanted to meet with was encouraging and real, challenging me to finish my books and to write articles. If I had gone home in defeat that first day, I would have missed this joy. While I currently do not feel safe enough to interact with that first publishing personality or the parent organization, I hope to someday find the courage to do so, perhaps finally learning to forgive completely (myself as well as them). I will continue to offer them up to God since, like me, they make an occasional stupid mistake.

Is there anyone you need to forgive? Here's scripture to help!
Ephesians 4:29-32 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV, italics mine)

Luke 6: 37-38 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (NIV, Christ's own words)

Mark 11:25 "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (NIV, italics mine)

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