Were You Bullied?
Did you spend many weeks, months even years of your life being bullied? Maybe it was just "light" teasing because you have a unisex name or because you wore an "uncool" shirt to school one day. You could have been tormented relentlessly; name calling, rocks thrown at you, hung by the monkey bars by your pony tail, pushed down, spit on. (All those things happened to me). Perhaps you were passively bullied by another parent/mom because you fed your kids Fruit Loops *gasp* or because you can't afford tuition at the private school you send your son or daughter and are on the financial assistance program. Bullying happens everywhere but it starts very young.
Let me tell you about a friend; He was new to town, was teased, mocked for his beliefs, beaten because no one understood. He later died after enduring torturous beatings.
Let me tell you what happened that day he died; He saved the world. Yep, you guessed it; I'm talking about Jesus Christ.
I know it likely seems irrelevant for me to bring up Christ. Ok, so he understands/understood your pain. So what? There in Him lies hope. Hope is that His word is good and true (I mean just look at what he did 3 days after His death).
In the moment, in the pain; if someone had told me that Jesus understands I would have laughed or yelled at them. But that's the problem; hearing the Good News in the middle of hurt and sorrow, especially when you've never heard it before, can do little for you. It's later, when you've overcome the struggles and devestation that you can be aware of God's goodness.
But, what if we were filled with hope before the bullying began?
If you are a parent or have children in your life you get to start planting the seeds of hope and resilience early. We can begin telling our kids that despite what words they may hear, they are loved.
"Wonder" A movie on my "need to watch list" places the parent (Julia Roberts) telling her son (Jacob Tremblay) who was called ugly because of facial deformities; "You are not ugly... because I'm your mom it counts the most. Because I'm your mom, I know you the most."
It breaks my heart that no one ever told me those things. It's sad to know that many of us hid the hurts inside our hearts and chose not to tell others. It's devastating that some have ended their lives over unkindness. But this is what Christ, our Heavenly Father, wants us to desperately know; because He is our Father, He knows us the most, and it counts the most when he calls us worthy.
We don't have to just pray this never happens to our kid. We can equip our children to feel less rejection, depression and unworthiness. We can show our sons and daughters that underneath all the bad there stands HOPE. When children know the stories in the Bible of Noah, Joseph, Peter, Jesus (and many more); that mocked and even beaten were used for a purpose we give a foundation for them to stand firm.
If you've been tormented, bullied, or teased I want you to read this out loud:I AM LOVED. Let me say it again: YOU ARE LOVED.
You were bought with a price, made for a purpose, saved for eternity, loved unconditionally. If you didn't have hope back then I pray you have found hope now.
Bullying is a serious unkindness that in my opinion should be constituted as a crime. I say these things not to make light of your situation or belittle the hell you may have endured but to remind you that the viciousness has not ended. It will continue. However, I firmly believe we can arm our children against it. As early as they are beginning preschool we can talk about differences that make us unique because God doesn't use generic; He uses handcrafted works of art to fulfill special purposes.