Series: Sticks and Stones Week 3 (Say Uncle!) 10.23.05

I’m the second oldest of five. My oldest sister use to pick on me when I was in middle school. At that time she was a towering 5ft 6in and I was a measly 5ft and because of her size advantage she would consistently pick on me. Now that we are older my sister who is now 7 inches shorter than me still picks on me from time to time; however, I am able to return the favor.
As for my family and friends we pick on each other from time to time. Sometimes it is just for fun but sometimes we can go a little too far. Feelings get hurt, bruises appear and retaliation occurs. This week we finished up our series Sticks and Stones with our theme “Say Uncle!” where we talked about BULLYING and how it is abusive and wrong. When it comes to bullying you have to ask yourself a few questions. Do I get picked on at school, home, etc? Am I afraid of a classmate, peer, or family member? If I’ve never been picked on does that make me the bully?
Just think about those questions when you review over the 3 points made in last Sunday’s (10/23/05) message. Also try and think about how you interact with others and whether or not you need to reconsider your actions.

Jokes lose their humor when someone has to suffer.

Proverbs 3:31 – “Envy not the lawless man and choose none of his ways.”

-When is a joke no longer a joke? When no one laughs? When someone gets hurt? A joke comes at the expense of another human being when it causes someone to suffer pain or embarrassment. A joke that comes at the expense of another human being is an insult. The thing that gets me is the fact that we emulate those that put down other people. We see classmates, family and even friends turn into bullies when they take a joke too far, and sometimes it isn’t their fault because they are just trying to make people laugh. But it is not worth it when someone is singled out. It is not wise to look up to those that put down others.

Physical or Verbal all abuse is wrong.

Proverbs 3:31-32 – “He who oppresses the poor blasphemes his Maker, but he who is kind to the needy glorifies him. The wicked man is overthrown by his wickedness, but the just man finds a refuge in his honesty.”

-They say, “Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” I’ve always believed that this statement is false. Physical and sexual abuse is no worse than mental or emotional. Both can leave scars and bruises that heal. Both can leave scars that can last forever. Basically it comes down to the fact that whether abuse is physical or verbal it is wrong. Anytime you put down one of God’s children you are committing a sin, you are performing an act of abuse. It doesn’t matter if the person is being abused by a friend, a stranger, a sibling or a parent if someone is being hurt love does not exist. We need to be more aware of our actions and never say that sticks and stones are worse than names.

Stand up for those who are suffering by others.

Proverbs 31:9 – “Open you mouth, decree what is just, defend the needy and the poor.”

– We must stand up to those who abuse others and we must stand up for those who suffer at the hands of others. Robert Browning once said, “Ignorance is not innocence, it is a sin.” We cannot just stand by and let others get hurt physically or mentally. As Christians we have the responsibility to help our neighbor. In Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 22:34-40) Jesus tells us our two most important commandments are to love and serve God and love and serve our neighbor. When we put down or harm another human being we break these two commandments. And we put down and harm another human being when we do not offer them assistance. If you know someone who is being abused or bullied it is important to either help them out or go for help. When you help someone out who is suffering God will give you the courage to face the abuse. When someone is hurt or suffering we are responsible to show them God’s love.

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