Tuesday, November 03, 2009

As a Christian parent, what should I teach my child on the following: "What should you do when a bully approaches and pushes you down?"

So far, I have taken the typical American father stance... "Get up and punch 'em in the face!" The main goal of this approach is to inform the bully that you will not be a pushover.
Other parents may say, "Go, tell an adult." While I hope that my boys would tell me if ever this situation arose, I imagine the time will come when an adult is not handy...even on the playground.

And then I read one of the hardest teachings of Jesus (from Luke 6):

27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

The way I read it, Jesus NEVER retaliated when someone attacked him physically. He was never involved in any kind of war, and He was not a brawler. He never went looking for trouble, and when it found Him, He depended on God and His teachings to get Him out.

If I am to believe the story of Christ, I MUST believe that it takes MORE strength to LOVE your enemies rather than getting revenge. I MUST believe that God will sort it out one day. I MUST believe that non-violence will achieve something better than violence. I MUST believe that LOVE (even love for my enemy) will win in the end.

And I MUST believe that this is right for my kids, too.


preacherman said...

As a father of 3 boys I am challenged by your post. Thanks I needed it today as my middle son has a bully.

One Observationist said...

Jesus may have done nothing physically to retaliate, but he fought in other ways. The mental fight is much more valuable and important in furthering a cause than any other form we have.

When I was a kid I so wanted to help the kids that were being picked on. I did sometimes but often times I was too scared of the bullies and I coward and sat back and felt ashamed.

If it happened to me today I would verbally assault the tyrants. If only I had the power of thoughts and words at that young age. It would have been a different fight.

Franklin Wood said...

I think I understand what you're saying.
Although I might use a little different wording. To me, "verbal assault" means you intend harm on someone.
I think that when Jesus used His words, He did it for the purpose of truth. Yes, sometimes He used STRONG language to call attention to their flawed thinking, but I don't think he intended to demean them.
And, of course, in the temple, He got angry, but it wasn't for Himself. He was angry that people were misusing God's temple.
I think you're onto something, though, in pointing out that, where I am a coward, Jesus would have spoken out.
Good thoughts.