1 O my God, show mercy to me; men would take my life away. Hostile forces press upon me; they pursue me all the day.
2 Slanderers are close behind me; they pursue me all day long. In their arrogance they hound me; they are numerous and strong.
3 When I am afraid, I’ll trust you. 4 I will praise your faithful word; I will trust and not be fearful. What can man do to me, Lord?
5 All day long they plot to harm me, twisting everything I say. 6 They conspire, they lurk, they trail me, keen to take my life away.
7 Let them not escape your anger; bring the nations down, O Lord. 8 In your book write my entreaties; in your scroll my tears record.
9 When I call on you to help me, then my foes will turn aside; This is how I will be certain that my God is on my side.
10 In the LORD, whose word I honour, in my God—I praise his word— 11 I will trust and not be fearful. What can man do to me, Lord?
12 I have taken vows before you; to my God I will be true. Sacrifices of thanksgiving I will gladly give to you.
13 For you kept my feet from stumbling, and from death you set me free, So that I may walk before you and the light of life may see.
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this, from v3, here
This is a Psalm written centuries ago. Many people today could echo its sentiments. Voices from our time could easily ask God for help because they are being bullied or persecuted. “I am being tormented every day. There is no let up and they are constantly waiting to attack me.” Every day we hear of people being bullied. In the workplace, in the Church, in school, in the home. It is hard to know where to turn for help. People’s lives are ruined, and even lost, when they are the victim of relentless bullying. The Psalmist asks God to punish the bullies, and thanks God for saving him. As People of Faith we can do the same, but it seems that bullies often go unpunished and it is hard to believe that anyone can make a real difference. Maybe it is us, who are witnesses to the persecution, who need to stand up and help anyone who needs to see “the light of life” in the darkness that surrounds them. Maybe it is us who should actually see the tears that are being shed, and not be afraid to stand beside the one who is crying. All over the world there are those speaking out against bullying of all kinds, but there are still too many people who do not have a voice and who live in never ending despair. Can we, though the grace of God, be that voice for them?
Please let it be so. Amen
Fredwyn Hosier Thames North Synod Pastoral Consultant and member of Palmers Green URC.
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