Just Say No to Bullies

The other day I heard from a young mother
who told me about a bullying problem at a Christian school.
Her child kept coming home hurt
from a bully’s rude comments and hitting.
She encouraged her child to look the bully in the eye
and ask, “Why are you hitting me?

Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash
Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

The bully’s answer was, “My dad said it’s okay to hit you because your dad didn’t vote for Trump.” Both of these children are under ten. We might wonder why national politics would give one child the excuse to bully another. We might wonder why any responsible parent would give their child permission to hit another. The sad answer is the current resident of the White House has given people an example of bullying that looks like winning and his influence is affecting some of his most aggressive followers, which in turn is affecting innocent children on the playground.

As part of his bullying resume, the current president has:

* Bragged about wanting to hit someone in the face on the campaign trail
* Was recorded bragging about grabbing women without asking their permission
* Threatened to sue the press
* Threatened to sue judges who are legally standing up to his religious and racial profiling

And since moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, he has brought a flock of bullies with him including everyone from white supremacists to big business interests who are busy dismantling as many protections as they can. These people don’t care about the average citizen. They don’t mind taking education from special needs kids or raping our national lands. In Washington whoever has the most money and connections have always won, but now we have a bully-in-chief who is threatening to sue people for doing their jobs. As judges scramble to keep our system of checks and balances in place and maintain the separation of church and state, he continues to tweet insults and threaten them with lawsuits.

It’s no wonder Christian friends have told me they had to unfriend other Christians in the same church because of all the hate on social media. It seems the current president has made it seem okay to be a bully. Sad to say, even I have found myself afraid to sit next to certain people at church—one man kept telling me before the election how much he hated all of the president’s competition. I basically avoided church for the next three months. And it doesn’t help when someone puts Trump up on the big screen at church. Whatever happened to separation of church and state? Don’t we go to church to find hope in Christ and forget about the abusive people in this world?

We are a country divided and this president is only making it worse. He is NOT building bridges—but invisible walls everywhere. Walls between the rich and the poor, between the environmentalists and big business, between the white elite and people of color, between the inclusive spiritual and the exclusive religious. I would like to say this is just politics, but we are also a church divided. The division is getting worse especially in my own denomination where the powers that be are threatening punitive measures against those who have ordained women. I honestly can’t believe we are arguing over whether we can pray for a woman because she says she was called by the Holy Spirit.

I’ve found some women can be quite bullies too—not so much about Trump as about women’s ordination. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a woman online or in person tell me, “I don’t care about women’s ordination.” Well, that might not be an issue for her, but if the church doesn’t treat women (or anyone) with equality, it’s seriously misrepresenting God’s character. Some Christians will seriously need to get out of the way so Jesus can actually save some people.

These struggles for equality both within the nation and the church affect people everywhere. We might not all be in the arena dripping with sweat and wondering if our loved ones will be deported, or if our child will be hit today, but it’s not enough to claim we don’t support bullying if we remain silent. If we in any way, act like we endorse any kind of bullying—including that of the church to discipline people for following their own conscience, then we have lost the Spirit of Jesus.

We can’t rely on the Narcissist-in-Chief to act like Jesus because his religion is superficial. He is NOT leading an administration of reconciliation, but we, as the body of Christ, ARE to be different from the world. We have been giving a ministry of reconciliation. It would be nice if our pastors and teachers and Christians everywhere took a stand against bullying of any kind and began to welcome and provide a sanctuary for the marginalized.

When people enter church doors it should be a place of safety with a soft place to fall, but that’s impossible if anyone is being bullied. I realize part of the problem is many Christians lack of empathy for people who are walking a different path than they have ever thought of walking, but just because we have no idea how another person feels, is no reason to ignore the fact that they are a beloved child of God.

To be apathetic is to be lukewarm. I find it ironic that the very people who preach prophecy seminars warning the church about getting out of our lukewarm state and cleansing the sanctuary, fail to see how we as the church, are to be a sanctuary welcoming all and representing Christ to all.

Whether we are dealing with church presidents or national presidents, bullying is unchristian. If you use bullying in any form, you have lost my vote, my respect and my attention. I cannot in good conscience support any church or system that does not treat women, LGBTQ, immigrants, differently abled or people of any color or religion with fairness and equality as children of God.

Listen to the still small voice. Do unto others as you want to be treated. Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God. Lift up Jesus, because he will draw all to him. It’s part of our cross to carry the burdens of those who are being oppressed. If we don’t, we aren’t worth our salt.