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Bully No More

Posted Saturday, October 22, 2011, at 4:28 AM

Bully No More

By Rayla Stewart Hogue

Special to the Daily Statesman

Once upon a time there was a child born that changed the world. He was born in poverty, in quiet stillness, in anonymity, in the lowliest of places. The announcement of his birth however, was a combination of stellar proclamation and word of mouth.

His family, aware he was a world changer from his conception, was humbled by the reaction of others to him. Yet not everyone loved him. While just a toddler, they were told jealous politicians were plotting to kill him. They quietly faded into the night, leaving town, watching over their shoulders in hopes they could stay ahead of their enemies.

While they were running they heard that all the boys of their community had been slaughtered in an effort to find their child. Fear filled their minds as they spent years trying to stay one step ahead of the stalkers. Eventually they heard of the death of the stalker, so they returned to their home and family, while keeping a very low profile--just in case.

As he grew into a man, people gathered to him--listening to his words and teaching. His concept of love was radical in its inclusivity. His viewpoint of loving all, serving all, treating everyone the same brought hope to the poor, the lowly--while angering those in positions of power.

It seemed everywhere he went there were throngs of those who wanted him to touch them--to help them. On the other hand there were those who listened to every word he spoke, trying to entrap him, smear his name, and twist his message.

As he matured into a man his enemies constantly inferred evil into his every step. If he spent time with a woman--it had to be something sexual (men and women couldn't just be friends and having a conversation). Eventually, rumors grew and grew, and grew while the poor, the seekers, those with similar viewpoints listened and learned.

Still his enemies--and those afraid his vision of radical love might lessen their power and control--plotted against him. Eventually they found a chink in his armor--one of his best friends (who just couldn't get it) betrayed him. He went through a mock trial. His peers called for his death (terrified that if they didn't agree with those in power that things would get even worse), and slunk off, trying not to be seen.

He died. However, that wasn't the end of his story--he was special--his love was radical--his concepts pure. Why? Because he was God--loving us in the only way we could begin to understand.

The problem is that many today suffer abuse, but aren't God in human flesh. They don't know the end of the story. When they are bullied . . . belittled . . . abused . . . browbeaten . . . and/or demoralized, how do they survive?

It is our responsibility to stand for them when they cannot stand for themselves. Stop the use of bullying language. Refuse to be a part of belittling another. Reach out to the abused. Stand up for the browbeaten and protect them. Hold out a hand to lift up the demoralized and wrap loving, supportive arms around them.

October is domestic violence awareness month. Jesus was able to stand against those who abused him. Most of us can stand against those who would abuse us. Some cannot. We must stand for them--offer them a hand out of abuse--open our eyes and see.

God, you created us to love you and to love one another. You call us to love you with all our hearts, our minds, our souls, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. God, forgive us for not loving as you love. Continue to remind us to love, and to stop others from not loving. Give us the strength to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. Give us the wisdom to stop abuse in all its forms. Give us the love to love unconditionally. Give us the courage, to love. So be it. Amen.


İRayla Stewart Hogue

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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.
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