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A prayer for Joe the Bully

Time:2018-08-09 13:20Shoes websites Click:

Shoe list Anger pray crime

While children are heading back to school this month, our Life Recovery Group has been making a prayer list. We are praying for Rodney and Jonathan, Jamie and Jasmine, Dylan and Ricky, Matthew, Faith, Waylon, Tamaya, Amina, Allissa, Aniya, Aleaha, Bodley, Madeline, and “Joe the Bully.”

One of the mothers in our class suggested that we pray for Joe the Bully, who lives in her neighborhood and harasses her children. How can we pray for him? It’s easier to proclaim him impossible and unworthy of our prayers. But, what if we dared to pray for Joe?

Maybe if we knew something about his life we could understand why he is the way he is. WE might find that Joe himself has been a victim of bullying. We might learn that he has no healthy role models in his life. Maybe his mother is in jail, maybe he doesn’t know who his father is, and perhaps his grandmother is struggling to raise him. Many of our troubled kids today have been abused by people they should have been able to trust. Nevertheless, if Joe the Bully continues acting out of his anger, he will be a prime candidate for gangs--and will make a powerful gang member.

Eddie Charles Spencer says, “When I was six years old, in first grade, anger owned my soul.” He remembers the first incident that birthed that anger, and he tells his story in his book “Inmate 46857.” His family could not afford shoes for Eddie. He had to wear his sister’s shoes to school. He was ridiculed and shamed. “I never got over that shame,” he says. He was often so hungry that he would search through the house for food. One day while searching, the six-year-old found a gun.

By his seventh birthday, he was skipping school, sniffing gas, and stealing from the local grocery store. For punishment, his dad beat Eddie with a belt and humiliated him in front of his friends.

His home life was so bad that when he was sent to Oakley Training School, at nine years old, he actually loved it, because there was a shower, a bed with clean sheets, and food--all the food he wanted.

At 17, Eddie was sentenced to ten years for armed robbery and sent to Parchman Prison. In prison, his anger escalated into a compulsion to kill. He sharpened a shank and planned to use it. “I didn’t know who I wanted to kill,” says Eddie. I just wanted to kill.”

However, someone must have been praying for Eddie Spencer, because he never used that shank.

Instead, he had an encounter with Jesus. He says, “There’s nothing anybody can do to change themselves, not really. Nothing works—not self-discipline, not government programs, not rehabilitation. Those things are able to go just so far. Only God has the power to give someone a whole new shot at life.”

So, we will be praying for our list of children--and especially for Joe the Bully. We pray that our schools will be safe places. We pray that our children will have teachers full of love and understanding.

We pray that our children will learn to love words and books and that they will discover the joy of learning. We pray that for each child there will be at least one person who will protect that child from the bullies who try to get inside their heads and shove them the wrong way. We pray that someone will teach each needy child that there is a God who loves them with unconditional love—and that HE looks very much like JESUS.

Virginia Dawkins is the author of “Stepping Stones: Steps from Shackles to Freedom,” available at Amazon.

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