Let me tell you a story.
When I was a kid, I was really thin.
If you think I’m thin now, you should have seen me when I was 10 years old. I was so thin, if I wanted to vanish, all I had to do was stand sideways—and you could barely see me.
And I wasn’t only thin, I was short too. I know that today, I’m tall, dark, and humble. But back then, I was one of the smallest guys in class.
And listen. I wasn’t only thin, I wasn’t only short, I was also ugly. (I know that’s a bit difficult to imagine now…) But believe me, I looked like an alien. I had a humongous nose on a small face.
Being thin, short, and ugly was a perfect recipe for being bullied in class.
The bullies would call me names, push me around, steal my sandwich, confiscate my pad paper, kick my bag, order me to serve them… And at that time, all I could do was smile and say, “Hehehe….” I mean, what could a small, thin, ugly guy do?
But I had one consolation. The bullies who bullied me were smaller bullies. The Bully of bullies, his name was Jesse, wasn’t bullying me. Perhaps he thought I was small fry. That I wasn’t worth the effort.
Everyone called Jesse the Man of Steel. The other bullies were made of wood but only Jesse was made of steel.
Jesse was two feet taller than any other kid in class. While all the boys in the class were still desperately trying to grow body hair, Jesse already looked like a gorilla.
You see, Jesse was three years older than all of us. Because he kept failing and repeating the school year.
But one morning, it happened…
“I’ll Take Care Of You”
While I was reading in my seat, minding my own business, Jesse walked up towards me. He shoved his religion notebook in front of me and said gruffly, “Eugenio, do my homework for me.” (That’s my real name.)
What could I say in front of the Man of Steel? “Hehehe. Okay…” . (A little background: I had very poor grades in school. My Math was 72. My Pilipino was 72. My Science was 72. But my Religion grade was 95. Even when I was a kid, God already knew I was going to be a Preacher.)
And then out of the blue, Jesse popped a question. He pointed to the smaller bullies at the back of the class and said, “Are these boys giving you trouble?”
I said, “Well, I really wanted to beat them up, but I was afraid I might hurt someone, so I decided not to…”
Jesse smirked. He said, “If they’re giving you trouble, I’ll take care of them. Ako bahala sa ‘yo.” He then walked away.
I didn’t think much about what he said.
The next day, I found out he was serious.
“If You Pick A Fight With Him,
You Pick A Fight With Me”
When I walked into my classroom, the smaller bullies were already waiting for me. Because I was their morning entertainment. They started calling me names, pushing me around, opening my lunch box to steal my sandwich…
And then Jesse walked into the crowd.
Immediately, the smaller bullies gave way. Some of them probably wondered what Jesse would do to me. Some of them had a sneaky grin on their faces, thinking, “This is the day you die, Bo. Jesse is after you.”
But they all got the shock of their life when Jesse puts his arm around me and says in his big basement voice, “Eugenio is my friend. If you pick a fight with him, you pick a fight with me.”
He then looks at the smaller bullies, who now quietly walk away like dried leaves blown by the wind.
For that entire year, the bullies never bothered me again.
I tell you that story because there are many bullies in your life right now. Bullies of Debt. Sickness. Conflicts. Lack. Disappointment. Big problems telling you that you’re finished. That there’s no hope for you.
Here’s God’s message to you. Don’t focus on the bullies. You’ve got a Jesse in your life, and His name is Jesus. He’s not just a Man of Steel, He’s a Man of God.
And He says to you today, “I’ll take care of you.”
And He tells the bullies around you, “If you pick a fight with my child, you pick a fight with me.”
This is the message of the Cross. Jesus fought for you until death. He fought against the bully that wanted to rob you of your victory.
I pray for you today.
May God fight your battles for you.
May your dreams come true,