Often, when we speak or write about bullying, we are usually addressing problems that children and youth are experiencing. However, adults do bully other adults and with social media, such as Facebook, adult bullying is taking place more than ever before.
Bullying is a problem that has affected children and youth from all backgrounds of life. As parents, we pray our children do not get bullied and we pray that our children are not the bullies. Now, as an adult, not only am I concerned about my children being bullied, but I am also concerned about experiencing bullying because I do not dress a certain way, or smell a certain way, or look a certain way, or worship a certain way, or cross my legs in a certain way or wear my hair in a certain way, etc. With social media being at its height, people are being scrutinized and criticized for any and everything.
According to writer, Susan Campbell Cross, in her article on Shape.com, she herself had been bullied on social media. She indicated that recent data reveals that adult bullying is on the rise. In a 2012 survey of workers, 65 percent of American participants reported being bullied at their jobs, and adult bullying happens online and among social circles as well. (www.shape.com, "Three Ways To Smack Down A Grown-up Bully")
It grieves my heart when Christians humiliate others and this is evident on social media, specifically, Facebook. So what if someone is showing their cleavage in church? At least they are in church receiving a Word from the Lord. So what if a young lady is wearing a too short skirt? That does not means she is not marriage material. And, thank God that she has sense enough to pursue her educational goals. So what if a man does not smell a certain way? Why criticize him because he may not be able to afford an expensive bottle of cologne? Words do hurt, and you do not not know what a person is going through when make your public nay-saying about him/her. How can someone correct his/her behavior if you choose to address the issue on social media instead of addressing the issue with the person directly? How can a young woman learn etiquette if you choose to talk about her instead of taking her under your wings and teach her the correct way? As believers, we should be concerned about whether a person knows Christ as their personal Savior, not what they are wearing or how they smell or how they look or how they speak.
Friends, now is the time to unite as one body of Christ, banding together to break strongholds and tear down walls. Now is the time to be encouragers in Christ. Now is the time to speak love and show love for our brothers and sisters, despite how they dress or how they smell or how they look. Our words and actions can seriously discourage or even turn someone away from following the Lord. When God cleans us up, HE cleans us up from the inside out; not from the outside in.
We are losing focus as adults, as members in the body of Christ. I am reminded of what the Lord had told Samuel,as found in 1 Samuel 16:7, "But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”" (NIV)
My challenge for us today is that we will be concerned about the welfare of our men and women, young ladies and young men. My challenge is that we will be compassionate and kind toward each other. I encourage you, Believers of Christ, next time you have the desire to make fun or degrade or humiliate another person, think twice about doing so.