Text: “The second commandment is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Mark 12:31 NRSV).
“Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31 NRSV).
We have a big problem in our country that is seriously wounding our children. The problem is bullying. According to the federal government, about 20% of students, ages 12 – 18, experienced bullying nationwide. These same students who reported being bullied said they thought those who bullied them 1. Had the ability to influence other students’ perception of them; 2. Had more social influence; 3. Were physically stronger or larger; and 4. Had more money. Bullying is perhaps best defined as an intentional action that tries to cause harm or distress to the victim. Bullying includes being the subject of rumors or lies, being made fun of or called names and insulted, being physically pushed, tripped, or spit on, being intentionally left out and excluded, being threatened with harm, being coerced into doing something the person did not want to do, and having ones property destroyed on purpose. It is a growing concern today…and may even, at times, lead a young person to commit suicide.
Though there are some examples of bullying in the Bible (i.e. read the New Testament story about Zacchaeus), the Bible doesn’t talk directly about bullying. Nevertheless, the Bible does say important things about how we should treat others. In particular, we are instructed to love our neighbor as ourselves and to treat each other with the kind of respect we ourselves would want to receive from others. Indeed, in the teachings of Jesus, there is no room given for demeaning or mistreating others. The Bible reminds us that all people are created in the beloved and valued image of God, and thus should be treated with dignity and regard.
Our challenge today and every day is to relate to others, all others, with such Christ-like grace and care.
O God of Grace and Love, help us to treat others with care and respect. Especially where people are hurting or wounded, may we be a point of light and love to them, in your name. Amen.
Focus for the Day: Today I will live by the Golden Rule.
Author: Rev. Bob Livingston
**Quoted material is from www.stopbullying.gov/resources/facts