A Chanukah Lesson In Standing Up To Bullies
Everyone gather round. It’s story time. Today, we’re going to hear the story of the Maccabees. You see, a long time ago, the Syrians ruled the land of Israel. The Jews were allowed to go about their business until Antiochus Epiphany came to power. Antiochus decided that the Jews should all worship the way *HE* told them to worship. Or else.
Some of the Jews went along with the order. They dropped their old religion and began worshiping Zeus because it was easier than standing up to the king (and his army). The Maccabees, though, refused to change their beliefs simply because someone threatened them. They believed that they had the right to worship as they saw fit and they were willing to fight for that right.
And fight they did. The Maccabees gathered a group of Jews who believed similarly. They were outnumbered and outgunned (in a manner of speaking – guns weren’t used back then), but they had the advantages of surprise and knowledge of the terrain. They used these to drive the Syrian army away and reclaim their religious freedom.
This story is chock full of lessons. Usually, people take the obvious moral of religious freedom from it. The Syrian king was wrong to impose his religious beliefs on others. People should be able to worship whatever god they want (or no god at all) however they choose. Recent events, though, have led me to take a slightly different lesson from the story: Don’t back down to bullies.
Antiochus was a bully, albeit one with an army at his disposal. He wanted to set the rules for others to follow and, if they didn’t follow it, he demanded they be punished. He couldn’t stand to see people doing things that he personally didn’t approve.
Many of the Jews, when faced with the bully, backed down. They gave in and just did what the bully told them to do. This is the quick and easy path. (Sorry, the geek in me couldn’t help quoting Yoda.) The Maccabees didn’t give in, though. They stood up to the bully. They refused to let the bully silence them or dictate the terms of their lives.
As a victim of bullying growing up, I promised myself that I would never let myself be silenced by bullies again. Once I became a father, I knew that I wanted to teach my sons not to back down to bullies also. This doesn’t need to mean physical violence, but it also doesn’t mean you should cower in fear.
Recently, I found myself sitting in silence. A bully that had targeted me in the past had turned her attention to others and I didn’t want to speak up lest she turn her eye back to me. I wasn’t cowering in fear, as this particular bully has no power over me. Still, I just didn’t want to have to deal with her antics again . Then it struck me: Would the Maccabees have done this? More importantly, do I want to teach my sons to keep quiet when someone is bullying someone else? The answer to both is a resounding NO!
Over the past 18 months (off and on), I’ve been the target of a bully. I won’t go into her history too much. You can read about that elsewhere. Instead, I want to talk about her current activities. She’s begun targeting bloggers, specifically review bloggers as well as blogger networks like MomCentral, MomSelect, Business2Blogger, and MyBlogSpark. She’ll claim that they are fakes, will demand they take down their blogs, and will try reporting them to companies. Amazingly, some companies are listening to her!
In this woman’s mind, all of these blogs and networks are run by a group of 4 or 5 people to steal products. Her evidence? She was told this by God. Yes, she is a self-proclaimed prophet of God.
You can read more about her here:
As I said before, I’m through staying silent. If you’ve been threatened, please speak up. If you haven’t been threatened (yet), please send this information to every blogger you know. Spread the word. Let’s send the message that we bloggers don’t take kindly to bullies and will protect our fellow bloggers if threatened.