This whole “bullying” thing with Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin, and the Miami Dolphins has caused a lot of discussion around here. Bullying seems to be the new buzz topic everywhere we look. There’s so many facets, so much rationalization, such a culture in sports, traditions of college frats and sororities…… hazing, team building, bonding, rushing. What really is bullying anyway? Such a conundrum, What I do know is that every time Lance and I talk about it, I stop the discussion by saying something like, “We need to stop talking about this while I still like you.”
Wikipedia defined bullying this way: Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively to impose domination over others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power. A bullying culture can develop in any context in which human beings interact with each other. This includes school, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods. In a 2012 study of male adolescent football players, “the strongest predictor was the perception of whether the most influential male in a player’s life would approve of the bullying behavior”.
Last Sunday morning, I was watching a little ESPN and this is what I heard from one former coach. “I want to say one thing,” Ditka said during ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. “If I was the coach, I wouldn’t have either Incognito, the bully, or the baby, Martin, on my team. That’s me. [Does] that make me right? No. That makes me me. And I would stand up to that, because you don’t do what Martin did and you don’t do want Incognito did. Period.”
I have watched people be bullied. I have been bullied.
I once saw a story on TV about a young man who claimed that for 3 days God allowed him to fully see all that was happening around him in the spiritual realm. I don’t know if it is true of not, but what he said that he saw has stuck with me. He said that he could see words protruding out of people as if they were swords, knives, weapon of a sort, One lady thought that she had such a severe case of fibromyalgia that when someone just came close to her, she actually physically hurt. The young man said that he could see these daggers with words on them sticking out of the lady and when people got close enough to her they would actually bump the those word daggers and she would react in pain.
Now, I do not testify to the truth of what that man said, but I do know that God’s word makes it very clear that words do matter. He did not just think creation into existence, He spoke it! The Word tells us that our tongue is the rudder that steers the ship. That out of the mouth comes blessings and curses which lead to life or death. One of my favorite verses says, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks,” When we hear such horrible things coming out of peoples mouths, including our own, we need to take time to look at what is going on in the heart. Click here for more scriptures about the tongue!
I have no idea what the truth is, and perhaps, “You can’t handle the truth!” really does apply in this case. But I just wonder why we feel the need to tear each other down even if it’s an organized thing like hazing. Why do we allow our clubs and organizations to do it to us and to others? Why we just go a long with it, join in, participate? Is it really OK when it happens in a locker room or in a Fraternity?
There’s also the going overboard reality when it comes to sensitivity. Recently I took a photo for our boys soccer team. Each year each class takes a fun and creative photo, This year the juniors had a really fun idea to hold a great big fake rocket and aim it toward a kid wearing a T-shirt from a rival school whose mascot is “the rockets”, The coach and I both thought it was a clever idea, until we were in big trouble with the school administration for “inciting violence, breaking the zero tolerance weapons policy and for bullying the neighboring school.” They stopped the sale of the fall sports program and pulled them all from the shelves until that photo could be replaced with something acceptable. They actually went on to say that the photo was a reference to North Korean and that it was completely inappropriate. I must say, I was taken back. I was not at all offended by the photo and I am pretty on the ball when it comes to picking out inappropriate behavior. I was actually pretty mad that they were being so over the top with their PC agenda. At the same time so many things that I truly feel are really inappropriate seem to be being pushed at us at a high rate of speed, even in the schools.
I am just not sure what to think and I’d love to know your thoughts about all this bullying stuff. I’ll try to stand strong and not bail out of the conversation.