Below is my pondering article for this weeks bulletin. The senior pastor and I (and sometimes others in the church) take turns writing a weekly reflection for the bulletin. Sometimes they are serious, sometimes a good chuckle, but they are supposed to be an honest reflection from the author. It is a chance to communicate directly to the people who read, and sometimes a conversation begins from it. Well, anyway, here is mine this week.
Something to Ponder…
As of late I’ve found many stories covered by news services to be troubling, but one in particular has caused much thought and concern. The recent reports of suicides by young people have weighed heavy on my heart. In our times, these reports should not happen, and especially for these reasons. Bullying is problem in our society, whether we want to admit it or not. These young people were bullied because of their sexual orientation, but bullying is not only on this issue. I believe that each of us has the duty to make our communities, and society as a whole, a safe place for people to live and be without fear as they go about their days.
The stories of young people dealing with their sexual orientation and feeling so alienated by those around them causes me deep sadness. As I read and watched stories over the last couple weeks, it brought tears to my eyes. I am not using the image of tears as a metaphor or some kind of vivid illustration, but I literary cried tears of pain to see this going on around us. There is no worse feeling than knowing that those who are your peers are ridiculing you, talking behind your back, and going out of their way to cause you discomfort and pain. Even when it is not directly to someone’s face, they are aware of what is being said and done around them. It does not matter what your positions are around LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) issues, bullying is not something we should tolerate as Christians. As someone who endured times of bullying and being the focus of pranks and jokes at times in my youth, I know the feeling of wondering if not being around tomorrow would be an easier way. However, it is important to know that there are people who are out there that care. The church and its people should be a place where anyone can turn. It should be a sanctuary of love and support for those who seek it. Are we that place?
The question is, what can we do? First and foremost, apathy and complacency are the roots of this problem. If we sit around and notice this going on around and say nothing, we are a part of the problem. We must confront this when we see it, either directly or by reporting it to officials who can deal with it. Secondly, if we feel comfortable, let it be known publicly that we are against these types of actions and are a resource for people in trouble. And finally, let us pray for an end to abusive and violent actions in our society.
If you or someone you know is dealing with these issues, know that I am someone who cares greatly. I don’t want to hear of any more deaths because of bullying. My door is always open, call or e-mail me and I will listen. There is no reason for this to continue.
Grace and Peace,