Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Do You Do with a Bully? ; Originally Printed in the Christian Science Sentinel

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Do You Do with a Bully? ; Originally Printed in the Christian Science Sentinel

Article excerpt

When Matt was in first grade, he and his family moved to a new city in a different state. It was not easy being the new kid when school started again after the winter break. Ben, the tallest and loudest boy in the class, told everyone not to play with Matt, just because he came from somewhere else. To make it even worse, the biggest kids on the bus did things that really scared Matt.

One day on the bus ride home, one of the older boys sat right behind Matt. He leaned over the seat, looking down on Matt with a mean snarl. The boy reached down, took the cord of Matt's sweatshirt, and wrapped it around Matt's neck. Then he began to tighten it. The boy did stop, and very shortly it was time for Matt to get off the bus. But by the time Matt got home, he was afraid and mad at the same time!

Matt's mom listened to his story. She did not like what she heard, but she calmly told Matt that he had two choices, and she would leave it up to him to decide what to do. The first choice was that she could drive him to and from school each day. The second choice was that he could pray and heal the situation.

Now, Matt had seen prayer heal many situations before, so he was at least interested in what his mom had to say about prayer. She admitted that most people, after an experience like that, would continue to see these big kids as bullies. But this view of them would never heal anything. She suggested that when he saw the boys again he refuse to see them as bullies, but see them instead as the very children of God, pure and innocent.

His mom showed him a verse in the Bible that tells us what we should try to see in each other. "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace" (Ps. 37:37). Matt's mom showed him that the sentence could be read as both a demand and a promise. The passage is a demand that we agree to believe only the good that God expresses in the other person, or in ourselves. It can also be read as a promise, like, "We will see only the perfect person because God will show us what is real instead of the error (the mistake about the person) that we think we see. …

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