The Gospel Calls us to Stand Against Bullying

How many of us love someone who’s been bullied?  Many of us can recall a time when we were bullied when we were in school!  But bullying seems to have taken on a life of its own lately – how many stories have we seen in the news of students committing suicide because they were being relentlessly bullied?  It’s a tragedy that ought to break our hearts.

This post will very closely resemble the post I wrote entitled “How Should Christians View the Day of Silence” because the subject matter is so similar.  If you’re looking for something focused specifically on Christians and LGBT students, that post might be helpful to read.

There are a few reasons I believe that Christians need to be leading the opposition against bullying.

  1. Because of the Gospel, every Christian is called to live in a way that is remarkably different.  When others hate us, we love.  When others offend us, we forgive.  When others hurt us, we serve.  We don’t do this because God wants us to be “nice, good people.”  We need to do this because we are always remembering that this is exactly what Christ did for us.  He loved us when we hated him, he forgave us when we offended him, he served us when we hurt him.  Romans 5:6-8
  2. We are called to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us.  So people mock your faith and try to make you feel like an idiot because you’re a Christian… so what?  Jesus explicitly tells us to love those who hate us.  If we only love people who love us back then how are we any different?  Matthew 5:44
  3. Christians are a persecuted people.  Christians throughout history have been targets for hate-crimes and persecution.  More Christians are persecuted and murdered now than at any other time in history (one statistic says 19 Christians are killed for their faith every minute!).  In fact, Scripture makes it sound like there’s something wrong with our faith if we aren’t being targeted because of our faith (that doesn’t mean we should hope to be persecuted, just that it’s common and we should expect it).  Matthew 5:11-12, John 15:18
  4. Christians are called to be Agents of Reconciliation.  Jesus says “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  Does that describe you… a peacemaker?  Too often, Christians get a reputation for being people who instigate arguments… we should get a reputation for being peacemakers and agents of reconciliation instead – Reconciled to God (salvation), and Reconciled to Each Other.  Matthew 5:9, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Our commitment as “Agents of Reconciliation” flows out of our commitment to the Gospel.  Because we have placed our lives in the hands of the One who gave up his rights as God in order to be The Redeemer between God and men we are changed and given a new desire to bring together what has been torn apart.  We have been forgiven by God, knowing that HE is the one who paid our punishment so we could be freed from judgment and shame.  The Gospel has changed everything for us.

www.StopBullying.gov is a good and useful resource, providing help in determining “What is Bullying,” “Recognizing the Warning Signs,” and “How do I Get Help?”  Check it out and pray about how you can become an Agent of Reconciliation.

If you’re aware of any good Christian resources that stand against Bullying and equip believers, please let me know in the comment section below.

Parents, Are You Cocooning Your Children?

I read Dick Staub’s “The Culturally Savvy Christian” a while ago but was flipping through it last night when I came across this gem:

…”Children raised in the protective cocoon are ill prepared to meet the challenges posed by the secular culture they will inevitably face one day.  Thirty years ago, Francis Schaeffer warned, ‘I find that everywhere I go children of Christians are being lost to historic Christianity…. They are being lost because their parents are unable to understand their children and therefore cannot help them in their time of need…. We have left the next generation naked in the face of twentieth century thought by which they are surrounded.” (p.31-32)

It’s good to protect and guard our children, to preserve their innocence… I would never want to discourage parents from doing that.  But we do them no favors by insulating them from the culture they will one day need to live in and in which they are called to be Salt & Light.

Do not be in a rush to see your kids grow up, or else you might be throwing them to the sharks.  But don’t be so cautious that you “protect” them from the world to the point that it’s as if you’re still giving your teenager baby formula because you’re afraid he’ll choke on solid food.

May our faith be mature enough to demonstrate biblical, Gospel-centered, holy, pure, redemptive lives that would set a concrete example for our children to follow as they learn from us what it means to be an adult.

Thinking WITH Your Teen…

I was listening to a podcast today with Dr. Walt Mueller (Founder & President of CPYU) where he was talking about his experience parenting his own teenage children.  Here’s my summary and re-wording of what he had to say:

The goal of parenting is for your children to learn how to make good, biblical decisions on their own when they’re adults.  In order to do that, they need to know how to think “Christianly.”  That won’t happen on its own, it takes a lot of work.  Here’s what Walt Mueller had to say about how he and his wife approached raising their own kids to think Christianly.

When kids are young, we do all their thinking for them: we dress them, we feed them, we make all sorts of decisions FOR them.  As they get older, they ask for permission for certain things (“Can I go to Johnny’s house to play?”) and we say Yes or No.  We’re given this gift, this opportunity, called “Adolescence” where kids aren’t really “kids” anymore, but they’re not yet “adults” either.  We can’t simply think FOR them anymore, but they’re not ready to think completely on their own either.  This is a time when parents have the great opportunity to think WITH their kids and to MODEL how to think Christianly about life, faith, and the world around you.

Kids who make mistakes while learning how to think Christianly are better off in the long-run than kids who didn’t make any mistakes because they were always told what to think and do.

Walt shared the story about one of his sons coming to him and asking about this new band, Green Day, whom he had heard and liked.  Instead of immediately saying, “No, their lyrics aren’t good for you.  You can’t listen to them.” he gave his son the lyrics to the song his son said he liked and explained t0 him what the song is about.  After that, his son (still in junior high, at the time) clearly saw that this is not a song he should be listening to.

Parents, how are you training your children to think Christianly?  Are you interacting with Youth Culture enough to be able to model Christian thoughtfulness to your teen, or are you too busy to put in that work?  I know it’s difficult and takes time to know what’s going on in your teen’s world, but there are great resources available to you!  Sign up for CPYU’s e-updates to be sent to you via email to keep you up-to-date on what’s going on in Youth Culture.  Also, check out the links on this website to “Youth Culture Window,” “Real World Parents,” “Plugged In,” and especially “Center for Parent/Youth Understanding.”  These are great resources… take advantage of them.

And of course, if you have questions, please ASK ME!!  I guarantee that I do NOT have all the answers, but I might have some, and I might know where to look to find the answers I don’t have.