Bible Lessons: Bullying
We have all recently heard a lot about bullying. In fact there is a good chance that everyone reading this has had at some time contact with a bully in your life. It might have been in your childhood or could very well be someone you have to deal with in the workplace as an adult. Whatever the case, a bully targets someone they consider weaker, lesser, or just plain undesirable. To show their superiority they do things to verbally and sometimes physically hurt you. Bullying at it’s extreme can even result in injury or death.
But what has occurred to me recently, is that there is lurking in many a bit of the bully attitude that only shows up when we come in contact with someone we believe has what I call “less than” characteristics or who is undesirable. Idiscovered this when on a walk one night. There in the middle of the street walking slowly, but as fast as it could, was a common marsupial known as an opossum. They look very rat like because of their tail, and are considered quite ugly by many. Though 8 times less likely to carry rabies than a dog, and with an immune system that makes it impervious to most poisonous snake bites, the opossum is disliked by many. So disliked many people target them with their cars thinking they are doing a service by killing just another big rat and that is what I witnessed. Just because they consider them ugly, the bully uses the car to punish a creature for being alive, made the way it is by God.
It is this very method of judgment that empowers all bullies to do what they do. If they don’t like the way someone looks or behaves, and if their victim can’t put up much of a fight, they take advantage. I have seen this same thing done to cats bycat haters, and heard others brag about it as if it was some great triumph. But it is really a sad commentary on the condition of human hearts. There is no sadness over the loss of life. Yes, accidents happen, but many times they have been targeted.
To be honest, it is not the opossum I grieve over the most. I grieve over the condition of calloused human hearts that are learning more and more to be unmerciful and aggressive.
Saint Francis of Assisi was so right when he wrote,
“Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission–to be of service to them whenever they require it… If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. — Saint Francis of Assisi