Bully on the Playground

bully Habakkuk draws its reader right in, questioning the Lord’s dominion over the enemies of war, famine, poverty, and injustice.  What kind of Lord won’t listen and won’t save?   Habakkuk doesn’t mess around with niceties, listing the Lord’s steadfast love, mercy, patience, justice, and strength.  He goes straight for the jugular.

And teaching Habakkuk to young children can be especially difficult in a land that strives to create a safe and fair world for its children.  Habakkuk is essentially asking the Lord,  “How could the playground bully be doing the work of the Lord?  The bully is mean and unfair and “bent on violence.” (1:9)

A boy named Peter studied the children at play.  From the park bench where Peter sat, he sized up the playground bully, and Peter watched him like a hawk.   The playground bully threw rocks at the spinning carousel, stood at the top of the slide and wouldn’t let anyone pass without a “leaf ticket,” and always beat his friends in a race to the best swing.   And Peter’s Mom didn’t even notice when the bully started kicking Peter’s ball that he left on the edge of the playground.

“Why doesn’t Mom do something??!   It’s my ball!  How can she let that bully do whatever he wants?”  fumed Peter.

“Peter,” Mom turned away from her conversation with the other ladies.  “You can get up from the bench now and come out of time-out.  Go apologize to the little girl you pulled off the see-saw.  Then why don’t you go play with that boy over there who’s kicking your ball around with the other kids?”

Will Peter ever learn?




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