Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bullying Hurts

Bullying Hurts
Carol Condon

The young student was trying to fit in but that was not going so well. His mom and dad were great people but lived very busy lives. He took their busyness as a failure to fit into their schedule and even wondered if he was wanted or just a responsibility. Were they committed to him or did they truly love and want him? He just couldn’t be sure.

His time in school was even worse. He did not have enough self-esteem to even try to fit in. Most of his time was spent dodging the hurtful remarks that were hurled in his direction when the “in” students were present. His daydreams were filled with hopeful days of when he finally fit in.  Would those days ever come? He had been called more names than he could count. The “accidental” occasions where he was tripped and shoved added to his already painful existence.

When I heard his story I wanted a chance to go to his parents and paint them a picture of what their actions or even their lack of actions looked like. I wanted to go into his school and grab all the students who spent their free time bullying those who didn’t fit into the acceptable mold and teach them a much-needed lesson.

Bullying hurts and can ultimately change someone forever. Bullying occurs when a person uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. By definition this means that weak and defenseless students are not the only victims. Our homes, places of employment, and sadly our churches have their own set of bullies. Those holding the authority over others have the opportunity to intimidate those in a weaker position and this hurts. However, what if intimidation was put away and was replaced by humility and patience? I am pretty sure this would be found pleasing in His sight.

Ephesians 4:2 NLT
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Silenced Flame

The Silenced Flame
Carol Condon

Our calendar was looking like a doodle pad.  Each day was scheduled and some days were over scheduled.  It would have been nice to have had a "holiday administrator" who would have handed out a detailed schedule each morning.  However, since we didn't have one, most days resulted in chaos, but even chaos when it includes family is fun.

One thing that I was looking forward to was the Christmas Party at our home.  There were tasks that needed done in order to make the evening a success. These tasks included everything from grocery store runs and house cleaning to cooking and giving the dog a bath. Once these were completed and we had made a fire in the fire place and lit the candles we were ready for our guests.

It was such a special night.  The stories, laughter and singing made the work of the day so worth it.  Once everyone had left I began picking up the remnants of the party. I had turned off most of the lights leaving the fireplace and candles lit bringing a soft glow to the room as I reminisced of our successful evening.  As I finished cleaning the last dish I went to blow out the candles.  I simply placed a lid on each one.  I watched as the flame gradually dimmed until it no longer flickered. The realization hit me that the flame was silenced until someone took the time to light again.

I began to think of all the people God had trusted to my leadership.  Did I ever try to smother their flame?  Were they full of ideas that were uncomfortable for me or a little too far out of my comfort zone resulting in me placing a lid on them? Just as a candle will sit and never shine until someone reaches out to light it so will those who have had their flame silenced. What if we began looking for the people who are bent over with the heaviness of life, unfulfilled dreams, hurts of the past, hurts of the present, or the over zealous spirit that has been squashed and we lifted them up with a kind word or deed allowing them to shine again? Do they have the strength within themselves to get back up or are they waiting for you or me?

"Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad."
Proverbs 12:25 KJV