A talk for Black Cat Radio – broadcast 25th May 2019

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If we think about our school days, I’m sure we can all remember a child who just didn’t fit in for some reason. Maybe, even, we were that child. And sometimes, sadly, children like that get bullied. Schools try hard these days to stop bullying, I know, but it does still happen because we get scared of people who are different.

And it’s not children who bully either. Adults can be bullied by bosses or co-workers, by partners or people who are supposed to be friends.

We can even be bullied by strangers. One small example that I remember happened to me on a bus. It was pretty full, and I was standing by one empty seat about to sit down on it when a woman pushed me out of the way and sat down in it herself. When I objected, she announced that “we can’t all wait around for you!”.

A big place for bullying though is the internet, where people sometimes shout their opinions and make snap judgements about others without considering that at the other end of their comments is a real person with feelings, and opinions that deserve to be listened to, even if we don’t agree with them. Instead, internet trolls go out of their way to hurt and criticize, safely hidden behind a keyboard.

But this isn’t God’s way. The Bible tells us to love even people we don’t like and don’t agree with. It tells us that God loves us all, without exceptions, and we need to try to follow his example. This is a difficult thing to do, and no-one gets it right all the time. I also don’t mean that we should let people get away with anything – sometimes it’s more loving to hold people to account. But if we can try to make our little corner of the world a bit kinder, a bit gentler, a bit less bitter and angry, that can surely only be a good thing.

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