Today is the second day of school for many of our young people in Batesville. We prayed for everyone on Sunday and will continue to pray that the year brings great enrichment and learning and fun.

School can be tough for some kids.

I was terribly picked on for the duration of my middle and early high school years. I suppose it was my good looks and charming personality that made my enemies envy, hate, and attack me. You can’t help that; Kids get picked on. Kids are jerks, let’s just be honest. Oh, I know your kid is great. But every other kid, between the ages of 13-17 are just the worst. Adolescence is the era of your life where you don’t know who you are or who you want to be; your childhood past and your adulthood future constantly clash with each other, and your brain is sending you every possible mixed-signal it can.

It’s tough, and some kids struggle with it the wrong way by lashing out at others. Some attack and bully whomever they can to have some control over their chaotic life. As a result, we need to teach our children how to handle a bully, but we have to teach them the Christian way:

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
(Romans 12:17)

I remember one day in 7th grade when a bully grabbed me by the collar and belt, swung me in a circle and chucked me into the classroom’s concrete wall. I was knocked out for a few seconds and came to after the bell rang at the end of the day. The teacher, who had been on her computer chatting with another teacher on Yahoo Messenger (remember that?!), missed the whole altercation and simply told me to get up and go home.

School was fun and I miss it terribly just kidding no I don’t.

When I got home and told my dad what happened, he told me I would need to “fight that boy.” Mind you, the “boy” in question was a foot taller and wider than me, not to mention two years older (despite being in the same grade as me). Even if I wanted to fight…

On the other hand, people sometimes tell their kids not to fight but instead to “be the better person” and just walk away. While I appreciate the call to non-violence, I have a problem with that philosophy on a spiritual level.

The bulled person isn’t the better person. We are all equal.

Just because the bully doesn’t see it that way doesn’t give us license to stop treating him like an equal. He may think he’s better than you when he bullies you, but he’s not. He’s your equal. And when you are bullied, you shouldn’t fight back. Why? Not because you’re better than him, but because you are equal to him and he doesn’t deserve your vengeance anymore than you deserve his bullying.

You’re not his judge, jury and executioner; God is.

Give your trouble to God and He will handle it in His own way, at His own time (Romans 12:19). In the meantime, let’s teach our children to feel sorry for whatever has made the bully act the way he does. Let’s teach our children to pray for the bully and pray that he stops picking on others. Let’s teach our children to remember that violence is NEVER the answer and that Jesus would have us love, and especially love our enemies.

It’s not up to us to take matters into our own hands. You’re not Batman. Our children need to talk to teachers, counselors, certainly parents, and of course God, but the mindset of “if he starts it you finish it” is ungodly and sets the child on the wrong path. We can’t solve our every problem; we have to be patient and trust in God.

Our prayers at North Heights go to every child at every school (public, private, or home).

God bless,

~ Matthew