After reading Rebekah L’s post yesterday, it was fitting that today I saw a TV show about bullying. It struck how single-minded it is. Bullying takes a lot of work. Bullies go out of their way to confront their targets – blocking their way in the hallway, calling them, texting them, posting mean things on their Facebook walls, spinning quotes and pictures out of context so others will judge them too. There are lots of reasons why bullies resort to such behavior, and lots of levels of severity, but one thing that all bullied kids have in common is that they are stalked. Whatever else it may be, bullying is a form of stalking.
For those of us who don’t engage in such behavior, stalking is probably unnecessary to our activities. Still, when do we seek people out? It tends to be when we need something, doesn’t it? We seek friends when we need consolation, advice, of socialization. We seek co-workers when we need collaboration or a break from the grind. We seek our bosses when we need help. You get the idea. Almost every time that we seek out anyone, it is to serve our own purposes.
This got me thinking. How different would the world look if we sought people out for their sake – if we had the same single-minded focus when it came to loving on people as we have when it comes to meeting our own needs? Isn’t that what God did for us after all? He came to us as Jesus Christ, walked among us and worked miracles in our midst, knowing it would futile and that He’d be tortured and persecuted for it. He didn’t need to go through that. But we needed salvation. He did it for us. How would the world be if we in turn acted for others instead of acting in our own self-interests?
I read an article of a man who did just that (read it here). A Jewish cantor, he moved to Nebraska with his wife and got hate calls from a man who was a KKK leader. He reported his bully and learned that he was disabled and bitter at the world. He called the KKK leader’s hotline, listened to the racist propaganda, and left a message about how there was a lot of love in the world. He did this daily. When the KKK leader finally picked up the phone, planning to spew out all kinds of abuse, his Jewish caller simply asked him if he needed anything at the store. This started a time of repenting, and by the end of his life this leader of the KKK was calling people he’d tormented in the past and speaking out against bigotry. All it took was one person to show that same single-mindedness and focus that most bullies show, but spreading love instead of hate. Love was stronger. Love always is. We just have to use it. And in this case love took over – the man who received it began to spread it.
I challenge myself today, and challenge you too, to seek someone out. Not because you particularly want or need to, but because they might need you to. Because you are a child of God and servant of man. Because you have something inherently priceless to offer: the compassion and love that the world first saw 2,000 years ago. So let’s spread it around, shall we?