By Yay Padua-Olmedo

A big bully is brought to his knees. Well, sort of, after an international tribunal rules in favor of the Philippines,” denying China’s claim to the bulk of the South China Sea” (CNN News).

But the bully is still at it, accusing the tribunal of “professional incompetence” and “questionable integrity.” A true-blue bully, don’t you think?

Bullies are an interesting lot―be they nations or classmates or your next-door neighbors.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a bully as a “blustering browbeating person, especially one who is habitually cruel to others who are weaker.

In this case of course, “weaker” refers to us―100 million Pinoys; and “blusterer/browbeater” China’s 1.40 billion-strong nation. Goodness, that’s a no contest!

It’s intriguing why a country this powerful and gigantic would even want to have a slice of an ocean pie so minute―unless of course they found that spot a strategic economic or warfare zone. And of course they did.

But could they just mind their own waters? Aren’t they big and extensive enough to use their tentacles over their own gazillion mile-wide resources! Why be a bully?

Of course bullies meet their end. History informs us of once glorious kingdoms whose greatness―or notoriety―is now buried in our forgetfulness: Egypt, the Ottoman, Mongol and Roman empires, the Soviet Union, and Spain whose disdainful lordship over the Philippines still lingers in our collective memory as a nation because of Rizal’s Noli and Fili.

One bully and his cohorts met their end not through military might or smart weaponry or negotiation. In 1 Samuel 17, Goliath, the Philistine, endlessly boasted of obliterating Saul’s army; and yes, they trembled in fear.

Yet David finished Goliath with one stone from his slingshot. David said (v 37), “The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.”

David’s confidence didn’t come from his slingshot or himself. He relied on God, the Word.

Facing Goliath, he said, “You come to me with a sword… spear… shield. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands; and I will smite you and take off your head…; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” (Verses 45-46)

Bullies, they abound. They’re either your seatmate in class, officemate or boss, even your ka-beso-beso in church; worse, your ate or kuya or bunsong kapatid.

The Bible says though that an even bigger bully is behind the one who bullies. Satan uses people to intimidate, enslave or coerce.

We have a more powerful advocate than any earthly tribunal or army combined.

Jesus says that the thief (Satan) comes to steal to kill and to destroy, but He came that we may enjoy life to the full (John 10:10); and that in Him, we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).

Bullies beware. No fear in Jesus!