Bullies target colleagues and classmates in an endless need to prove their own superiority. As long as they get away with it, bullies will not stop the relentless pursuit to break their victim’s spirit. In light of Jesus’ call to turn the other cheek, what godly recourse is available for a victim of targeted, shaming attacks?
At first glance, Psalm 35 might seem to violate New Testament teachings about revenge. Shouldn’t David simply be content to take refuge in God and wait out the storm? But his enemies were persistent. They would attack him from every angle until they succeeded in completely destroying him.
Their attacks had already successfully caused him to second-guess himself. Was he somehow to blame for the way he was being treated? After reexamining the past, he verified he had loved these people wholeheartedly. His openness toward them made their malicious betrayal more devastating and broke his spirit further.
Instead of passively giving in to shame, however, David fought back—but not with weapons or harsh words. Despite his skill with them, he chose not to employ them in self-defense. Instead he resisted the shame his enemies sought to impose on him by fighting with prayer.
David would not take vengeance into his own hands, but God had every right. David appealed to God’s protective justice, laying his case before the Judge and asking for righteous vindication. Without it, David would be left with the message that he was worth nothing more than the way he was being treated. But when God rose up and fought off the bullies, He would prove to everyone that His beloved servant was worth defending.