“I want to see justice served!” *someone else should get right on that!*
“She has the right to feel safe in her own home.” *so she should make sure to speak up for herself.*
“Bullying is wrong and kids should be able to get an education without fear of bullying.” *Let’s make some more rules about this.*
Yesterday, I saw a video circulating around facebook that I have seen circulating before: There was an over-weight quiet kid at a school being bullied by a loud but smaller (and very aggressive) kid. The bully is making a spectacle of their interaction so as to draw attention to how “tough” he is and he punches the bigger kid right in the face and the bigger kids does not react with violence. The bully continues to attack two more times before the the quiet, larger kid finally picks him up and slams him into the ground and rattles the smaller kid’s brain until I’m suspicious of permanent damage. Throughout the interaction, you see other kids watching and you hear other voices…and obviously, the bully had this planned because he had someone filming it for him and he retreated to the camera-person when the quiet kid finally retaliated.
There were all of the expected comments on this post about the bully getting what he deserved and applauding the quiet kid for standing up for himself and there were several people saying how happy this made them. And I felt broken because I did not feel happy at all…I was sad…and pissed…and I did not feel like I saw justice…I felt like I saw a peaceful child pushed to a point of violence with no allies…I felt like I saw a kid get trapped between his conscience, the “rules”, and a sense of self-preservation…I felt like I saw retaliation and that is simply not the same as justice. Now hear me, I am not condemning that child for defending himself…not at all. (I’ve actually had conversations with my own kids about not allowing themselves to be bullied and knowing when it is the right time to kick someone else’s teeth out.) But here is what upsets me: That child stood there alone while surrounded by other kids. People watched and filmed this as though it were sport. There was cheering and commentary until this child was pushed past his ability to reason. And this kid’s torture and misery was entertainment. And people watched. And people filmed. And people made comments.
Where the hell was the outrage? Sure, we can make morally-correct commentary from our comfort and safety on our side of that screen…we can shake our heads and cluck our tongues at how bad bullying is…we can make our statements about not waking the gentle giant…and we can draw more posters and have more anti-bullying seminars…but where was the call to action on the other side of that screen? When did we become a society that was ok with anything as long as it isn’t aimed at ourselves? Why can’t we just stand up against injustice…for the sake of leaving the world a little better than we received it…regardless of who the victim is.
As is usually the case, I’m not really just talking about this one topic (bullying)…I’m talking about injustice whether it be overt or less obvious. I’m talking about choosing to stop violating our consciences by standing by. I’m talking about not making someone stand against injustice alone and over-whelmed. I’m talking about our sense of morality extending farther than just our own protected circumstances…past just our words. I’m talking about physical bullying but I am also talking about the gospel…and how if we are changed by it…truly changed…we can’t just let others fight alone against their own bullies (just like in the animal kingdom, bullies isolate their victim before devouring them)…we must be moved by our ideals past just talking and stand with the ones who are standing alone so that they are not more easily devoured.
So, how are you doing with this? Do your actions match your ideals? Would someone look at your life and say that the gospel matters to you? For example, if you believe that God loves people of every race, does your life reflect that? If you believe that both men and women are equally valuable, what are you doing to right the wrongs in your sphere of influence? Are you more concerned with following the rules or obeying your conscience (the Holy Spirit?) When was the last time you got uncomfortable for the sake of someone else? What do you stand for? Have you actually ever stood for it?
My prayer today is that God would take hold of our hearts and minds and itch us until we just can’t be still anymore. I’m praying that we would not be able to get any peace until we speak truth into people’s lives by living out truth in our own lives. I’m praying that we do more than rant and discuss…but that we will become agents of change. Much love friends,
Video I discussed can be found here: http://youtu.be/PMvVOJV5A6Y
Thank you to Barb Haesecke who helped me to see myself not as just a “cage-rattler” but as an agent of change.