Recently, a viral You Tube video has brought an issue to the top of the news that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. Karen Klein, a school bus monitor for the Greece, NY school system, was bullied unmercifully by four middle school boys on a recent bus ride. Another boy took the video on his cellphone and a second boy posted it on YouTube because he wanted others to see what was happening.
Jesus had something to say about harassment and other types of abuse.
‘Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Matthew 5:39-41 It seems from the video, that Ms. Klein knew how to offer the other cheek as the abuse continued for more that 10 minutes.
We could argue all day about the cause of the boys’ behavior. The public’s reaction once they knew about it, though, was completely out of proportion in both good and bad ways. How is it that over $600,000 poured into a site created to raise $5,000 for a vacation for Ms. Klein? How is it that others now bully the boys with death threats and nuisance calls and visits to their homes? Inasmuch as the boys’ behavior was cruel, how ironic that others feel the need to subject the boys and their families to even worse cruelty. Tempting as it is to blame the parents, the schools, the friends or the culture, I think it’s time we look instead to the heart. Though all the other influences have a part, Jesus himself said “For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19) The heart that is not given over fully to Christ is a heart that has capacity for all manner of cruelty.