I hate bullying. Bullying takes on many forms. Bullies are everywhere. When someone has power—physical, financial, social— and uses it to persecute and harm those whom they dislike, that’s bullying.
I was bullied in school. It started with fights in seventh grade. I beat two kids who threatened and challenged me, but they had a bigger friend. He wasn’t that much bigger, but for some reason I was scared of him. He wanted to fight and constantly harassed me. I didn’t want a beating, so I ran, and ran, and ran. It was miserable. Fear was the dominant emotion for me in eighth grade. I rode my bike to school instead of the bus. School was about four miles from my house. It was a lonely ride back an forth every day.
Today bullying has expanded and exploded. Now we hear not only about kids, but adults bullying too. Bullies use social media, texting, and sexting. It is incredibly foolish to send a naked picture of yourself to someone; they may later use it for revenge. People have committed suicide because they cannot take the bullying any longer. This all makes me very sad.
Bullying is not isolated to individuals. Powerful political lobbies and wealthy media empires bully people who do not agree with their viewpoint. The dismissal of Phil Robertson from the Duck Dynasty program on A & E is a recent example of the relentless efforts of the gay lobby to silence anyone who disagrees with them. Louie Giglio was pressured to step down from praying at President Obama’s inauguration for the same reason. I was encouraged to see that Greg Laurie courageously and courteously stood up to the bullies refusing to step down from his invitation to call upon God at the National Day of Prayer.
People who are openly gay have been persecuted and bullied for many years, so this phenomena is not isolated to the LGBT lobby. In fact, homosexuals have been excluded, excoriated, and even beaten by bullies. While motivation behind the infamous Matthew Sheppard episode has been called into question by a well researched book recently (The Book of Matt), there have been other legitimate cases where gays have been victims of death threats, violence and murder simply because of their professed sexual orientation. This is evil. This is wrong.
The real battle is not gay versus straight, but love versus hate. The cornerstone of a civilized society is mutual respect. Regardless of my disagreement with your lifestyle choice, I can choose to grant you the respect due any other human being created in the image of God. Mutual respect can be stated concisely in the Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. Feel free to disagree with someone, but let your argument be with their ideas and practices. If I am secure and believe firmly in my values and ideals, I will not be threatened by those who disagree. In fact, I will welcome healthy debate as a means of sharpening my defense of cherished ideas, making me a better person. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
The role of power is to uphold what is right and defend the weak. Bullying misuses power and exploits the weak. When you are in possession of economic, political, intellectual or physical power, it is important to look out not only for your own interests but for the interests of others. Love your neighbor as yourself. This will prevent you or I from becoming bullies.