This morning I watched a Youtube video of a beautiful 15 year old girl, Amanda Todd, expressing her hopelessness and sorrow prior to her committing suicide. What a sad, pathetic story of a young girl that made a few poor decisions and was verbally and physically beaten by others for it. The fact that other teenagers could and would behave so vile and merciless towards her is unbelievable. Where was their decency? Where was their compassion for another human being? It is hard to believe that with all the so called sensitivity training this generation is receiving in schools and various programs etc. that one person could treat another person so horribly.
We all know people that have been bullied. Coming from a home where my own Dad was a bully, I have always detested bullying. I can remember in junior school watching a girl in my class get poked and made fun of and finally exploding at the perpetrators because I couldn’t stand by and watch! Bullies come in all forms and sizes.. some as abusive parents, some siblings, others as coworkers, fellow students etc.. Fortunately, most of those bullied do not take their life in desperation. Most come through it but not without their share of mental and physical battle scars!
So as followers of Christ, how should we react when we see bullying? Should we walk away and pray for the person/persons or should we speak up? Should we ignore it and hope it will go away or should we speak up and out on behalf of those being bullied? Many people choose to walk on past and somehow justify that perhaps that person did something to warrant it….
What does the Bible say about how we are to react to those who are in a position of weakness or vulnerability?
Jeremiah 22:3 NIV 3 This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
1 Peter 3:8 NIV 8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
These are powerful words and certainly don’t encourage indifference or apathy, but involvement! In fact just the opposite, as found in Genesis 42:21 NIV 21 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.”
This was in reference to the way Joseph’s brothers mistreated him and later felt shame and believed the hardships they were facing was a direct result of their abuse of Joseph. And finally Psalm 83:3 NIV 3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
All of these verses are verses of action. When we witness bullying or abuse we are not to sit idly by and ignore it, we are to do what we can to help. This may be with actions, with words or with intervention of others such as the police but we are NOT to ignore the plight of the poor, weak, disheartened or oppressed. As penned by Edmund Burke, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men/women to do nothing.”