Sunday, November 26, 2006

antibullying week

Last week was anti-bullying week. It’s an annual event, since the problem never goes away. Different bullies, different victims, same old story each time…

Jesus Christ was a target for bullies. It is incredible to think that the man who the Bible portrays as the most powerful man in the universe was subjected to so much abuse – verbal, physical, psychological, personal, institutional. You name it, He suffered it. What was His attitude to the bullies He faced? It is summed up by His words from the cross. “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

He trusts in God

God will ultimately put right every wrong. This is the hope of all believers. Others may mock “Where is the God of justice?” but genuine faith leaves God the Judge to reward right and deal with wrong. What’s the best bullying support hotline? It’s a direct line to heaven – look up and call out to God.

He pities his attackers

This is sheer strength of character. The innocent man has been so cruelly treated. His face is beaten to a pulp. His body is bruised and torn. And what does He cry out for His abusers? Revenge? No! Forgiveness? Yes! He uncovers their deepest need. This need is shared with all humanity. We need God’s forgiveness, granted on the basis of that Man who died on the cross. We deserve hell – and God knows it! But He wants heaven for us. God accepts us if we accept God’s Son – the One who died to make forgiveness a reality.

He identifies the underlying problem

At the heart of it, bullies are ignorant. They feel insecure and insignificant. Violence is their unintelligent (indeed unimaginative!) response. They can’t see the consequence of their actions. To victimise others is, in a sense, to dehumanise oneself. Bullying is despising God and destroying my neighbour, whereas fulfilled humanity is loving God and loving my neighbour. But how can we ever achieve this morally Herculean goal? Come to the cross – not to lash out in abuse at the Son of God, but to learn from Him. First receive forgiveness. Then develop love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control – as the Spirit of Christ works in you.
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