A new school year is upon us and with it comes challenges new and old. For some it might be starting a new school. For others it might be a new teacher that they are afraid of (Mrs. Borchardt was that teacher for me). And for others it might be knowing that you are going to have to take a subject you are not particularly good at and regretfully for some it means that they must return to the sight that bullying is taking place.
I know that most public school (if not all) have some form of anti-bullying protocol in place; for that I am certainly grateful. Ever since the events of Columbine more and more schools have had to make appropriate changes to deal with the issue of bullying. When I was younger, the issue was dealt with by telling the student being bullied to grow up, their just words and ignore them. Today schools take a more active approach in dealing with the bully as opposed to the bullied. But, I am of the belief that letting everyone else deal with a problem is no the Christian way. I believe that a Christian needs to be doing something when he sees an injustice being committed like bullying.
Don’t Be Doing it. This is the given. A Christian should never be engaging in bullyish behavior. Jesus seeks for us to be kind, loving and understanding of all. Treating people like a doormat, a second class citizen, or your personal punching bag (literal of metaphorically) is not conducive to the behavior of a Christian. And despite, this through peer pressure children raised in Christian homes can feel pressure to bully just to fit in. (The pull to be the one laughing, rather than being laughed at is real). But God wants us to be more than that. He doesn’t want us to say, “All I did was laugh, it was not like I was the one hurting him/he.” Laughing at another’s misfortune is still bullying.
The Good Samaritan Factor. The story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-36 teaches us a great deal concerning bullying. Before we apply this lesson directly too the victims of bullying and the Christian response, let us first establish the fact that we all know someone who has been bullied. According to the most recent statistics on the US government’s website on bullying, 1 in 4 students are bullied on a daily basis. Let that number sink in for just a moment. (Parents that means in this there is a good chance your child is one of those children that are being bullied). There is just no way we cannot know that someone is being bullied. If we add in Cyberbullying (which some for whatever reason do not consider to be bullying, those numbers increase. In fact, 80% of all students claim to have been the victims of cyberbullying (Facebook, Twitters, email, etc) 80%?!?! Yes, we all know someone how has been bullied. We all know someone is left on the road to Jericho after suffering from the hands of bullies.
In Jesus’ story there was a priest and a Levite who passed him by. While Jesus does not go into detail as to why these persons walked on by, I can just imagine the thought processes. “I am a priest. They are expecting me to be there on time and I don’t need to keep the waiting. This might be my only chance to serve in the temple this year and I don’t want to mess that up.” “I have a great deal of duties in the temple that I need to take care of. If I become unclean by touching this man while seeing if he is alive, I cannot perform my duties as a Levite. The priests are counting on me and I don’t want to let them down.” “I don’t want to get involved.” “If I help, I will make myself vulnerable.
To be honest, there are not too far removed from the reasons we usually give today for not getting involved. “If I stand up for the bullied and side with him/her then I might become a victim.” “I don’t feel comfortable doing that, it is just not my thing.” Children, Jesus is wanting you to stand up for the down trodden. This does not mean you hit the bully. But, it does mine you act with kindness towards the bullied. It does mean that you speak out against the bullies actions. It does mean that you will not be the silent bystander.
Adult Bullying. And parents, bullying happens as adults too. We don’t call it bullying, but that is what it is. We call it racism, prejudice, partiality, etc. Hating a person because he is white, black, brown, a woman, etc is never okay and shame on the Christian who ever thinks hatred on any level is okay.
Grinnell church of Christ
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The Christian and Bullying
Volume 8 Issue 32