There is Nothing Magnificent about Bullying

A male Magnificent Frigatebird flying in Puert...

A male Magnificent Frigatebird  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The feathers of a Magnificent Frigatebird are not waterproof even though the bird rarely touches ground. Because it cannot catch its own food by diving like the Northern Gannet, it has learned to pirate for its food. Like a pirate, he will bully other birds until they feel threatened enough to drop what they have hunted and caught. And when it’s feeling very bold, it literally grabs food from the mouths of other birds who have worked hard their meal. They earn their nickname of Man of War birds.

I have watched as one repeatedly swooped and gnashed at a Northern Gannet holding a fish. Tired or frightened or both, the full released its prey. The Magnificent Frigatebird immediately swooped and scooped up the released fish.

I recall a time in my childhood where I was the victim of a frigatebird. Well-known as a bully in the school, I became his target for several weeks. He was relentless. It seemed no matter what school hall I chose, he was there, zeroing in on me. He squawked names at me. He tormented me physically.  I avoided the playground for fear he would destroy the play of recess and peace of lunchtime. I avoided talking to adults for fear of reprisal from the very person making things tough.

You would think that having been the victim, I would never have been the bully. Unfortunately, that is not the truth.

During junior high a ran with what I considered an “in” crowd. One of the girls rallied our group around a mission to laugh at one particular girl who wore eye shadow in red, white and blue every day. Because I didn’t speak against the plan, I passively participated in the hazing. It’s one of those periods in my life I wish I could go back and change. The thought of the poor girl being brought to tears after several days of torment still makes me cringe. It was enough that I alienated myself from the group.

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”  Proverbs 15:4

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Ephesians 4:29

Do you have Magnificent Frigatebird memory that is hard to let go? Is there a bully that haunts you?



  1. Being the overweight brainiac, I was bullied so often through elementary shcool and junior high, it left deep gashng scars. It wasn’t until a Christian doctor told merecently I needed to stop bullying myself in order to lose weight that I realized I had been believing what they pounded into me all those years ago instead of believing that I am precious in His sight. And when no one else bullied me, I bullied myself to fill the void. Like a bird that Frigatebird always robs, I had convinced myself I’d always be the target, so I’d drop whatever good God had given me, convincing myself it wasn’t mine to have. Thanks for the example- fodder for devo thoughts!

  2. […] We see them on streams, rivers and lakes. But how do they stay afloat when other birds, like the Magnificent Frigatebird, would sink on […]

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