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The Word on the Week

Bullying Lady Gaga

Not that anyone would these days but her schooling was marred by it. Now at 26 as a Pop-star with the most twitter followers, she was at Harvard University recently inaugurating her Foundation aimed at tackling bullying.

During her teens she recalls, “I was called really horrible, profane names very loudly in front of huge crowds of people, and my schoolwork suffered at one point,” she said. “I didn’t want to go to class and I was a straight A student. There was a certain point in my high school years where I just couldn’t focus on class because I was so embarrassed all the time. I was so ashamed of who I was.”

Whilst a trip to the Principal’s office may sort out physical harassment we now have 24/7 mental harassment by text messaging.

Bullying is usually carried out by a pack of cowards who can extend their school-time chorus of abuse by texting their victim in the evening, at weekends and even on holidays. It’s one thing to say, “Switch your phone off and ignore the emails” but knowing that profanity-laden messages about you are being broadcast to others multiplies the stress.

Bullies not only do damage to others but are damaged people themselves.

The “Sermon on the Plain” in Luke’s gospel records Jesus’ words, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” The passage concludes with the “Golden Rule” Do to others as you would have them do to you. Chapter 6 verses 27/29 & 31.

Bullies and those they bully need to hear this as the ultimate solution.

Turning the other cheek assumes that you have the choice of non-retaliation. If this is not present boundaries need to be introduced to first check the abusive behaviour.

How we view each other needs to be revised. When Lady Gaga was thrown into a trash can the boys who did it left her in no doubt as to what they thought of her.

Conversion to Christ changes how we look at each other from checking out the biceps and brains to seeing others as uniquely made in the image of God.

As St Paul wrote,

“From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” The old way of thinking has been replaced making reconciliation a possibility. Or as St Paul put it “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2Corinthians chapter 5 verses 16-18).

It all starts with trusting Christ instead of self and a commitment to follow him for the rest of your life.