Love your enemies

Just a few weeks ago, the Jr High group led the children’s story. They shared a skit that they wrote, taken from the Beatitudes, about being “persecuted” for their faith at school. This included experiences with bullies and how to respond to them as Jesus would want them to. What amazing youth we have!

The children’s story this last Sunday was taken from Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” They knew that this is called the Golden Rule! What amazing children we have! Included in the story was Jesus’ command to “love your enemies.” We referred to those who may poke, or pinch, or annoy us, and how Jesus would want us to respond to them with love. Absolutely true.

However, I found this was heavy on my heart on Monday. The recent suicide of a young teen in New Jersey was a tragic result of bullying at her school. Our children and youth are taught at school that bullying is not acceptable on any level and should be reported to a trusted adult. I checked the Shenandoah County Public Schools website, searched bullying, and was thankful to see their commitment to anti-bullying education and response.

Loving our enemies does not mean that we continue to let them abuse, injure, or harm us. When we truly love people, we have to stop them from doing things that can harm themselves, us, or other people. But we do it from love, not hatred. Telling a trusted adult or parent about what is happening and asking for help is an important message that children, youth, and adults need to be taught, not just in school, the home, and the workplace, but also in the church. God does not condone abuse. He never wants one of his children to be harmed — he always wants us to cling to Christ for mercy and to find security and strength in his kingdom. That is my commitment as well.

Here are two websites that aid in talking to your child or teen about the Christian response to bullying:

I’m praying for you,

Pastor Deb