This is about the bullying that happens every Sunday and for which your liberal or conservative theological bent is irrelevant.
I began to think about it last night after seeing a very disturbing story about a young woman named Amanda Todd.
She was driven to it by bullying.
The most chilling part of this story is that she posted a YouTube video just a month ago outlining the hell that she faced every single day.
She had nobody.
She needed someone.
No one came.
How did it start? She had someone on video chat goad her into flashing him one night. He snapped a screen shot of it. He then threatened to send it to her family and friends if she didn’t do more.
And he sent them to her family and friends. She found out when the police came to her during her Christmas break from school.
A year after that the same guy put up a Facebook profile with her topless picture as his profile picture. Now the world saw it.
Drugs and alcohol entered the picture as she tried to dull the pain.
Then a male friend of hers invited her over one day when his girlfriend was out of town. She went desperate to connect with someone…he took advantage of her sexually…and when the girlfriend got back she found Amanda with a group of 15 friends and beat her.
She went home that night and drank bleach in an attempt to end her life. She was found, taken to the hospital and survived.
The response of her tormentors was to post pictures of bleach and Clorox and ditches on her social media pages saying that they hoped she would die.
Wednesday night, they got their wish.
And as far as I’m concerned, Amanda’s blood is on their hands just as if they walked up and shot her with a gun.
But here’s the thing…every single Sunday, in likely every single church in America…we have the same kind of thing happening around us.
The derisive looks at the man or woman who just went through a divorce and you “heard things” about “what they did” and make sure to share it with others because you think they deserve scorn for their actions.
You take steps to keep someone out of a ministry outreach at your church because you don’t want to be around them. You don’t tell them, of course, you tell others so they can look down on that person as well.
You gather a group of people to go out for dinner after church on a Sunday and talk loudly about it in front of a former friend that is no longer part of your “inner circle”.
You know a woman went through an abortion and you think they’re horrible for it so you make sure when around them to talk loudly about how women who kill their babies will never go to heaven. (Doesn’t matter that you’re not right about that if they’ve accepted Christ…)
The guy who believes that the Bible states marriage is a man and woman only so you make sure to post on their facebook page how they’re a bigot who hates gays and they need to be silenced…and then you start ripping any sin in their life and post it for the world to see.
Gossip. ”Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.”- Psalm 34:13 (ESV)
Lies. ”Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” – Proverbs 12:22 (ESV)
WE HAVE TO STOP MAKING GOD’S HOUSE
A DEN FOR BULLIES TO THRIVE.
The church is not your table in the lunch room in Junior High school where you can pick and choose who comes and who you can deride until they turn away. It’s not a place where someone who comes in looking for “somebody” walks out alone every single week wondering why not even God cares about them because in His house no one shows them any concern.
We need to start living our faith.
And that means it’s time to make sure we rebuke the church bullies…and examine ourselves to see if we’re one of them.
Because I promise you.
In your church this Sunday is a man or woman who is in the same place that Amanda found unbearable.
It’s time to make them realize there is always someone there.