Reverend Emily Heath recently wrote a commentary on the incident where some boys harassed a bus monitor and posted the video on YouTube. The article can be found here: Rev. Emily C. Heath: Jesus, Bullies on the Bus and the Rest of Us.
I would like to make a pair of points in response to the article.
First, the article purports to be be a Christian response to bullies in general and that instance of bullying in particular. Emily rightly points out that Christians are to be agents of healing and we are called to live above such behavior. I agree with this and applaud it.
My problem is that nowhere in the article does Rev. Heath explain how we can do this. Notably absent is any assessment of the root cause of bullying. That root cause is our sin nature. There is a bully in each and every one of us which can only be conquered through the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. It is Jesus’ death that makes the way for sin to be subdued. It is our individual taking up of our own cross that allows us to live in the freedom from that inner bully.
While culture, upbringing and peer selection can influence a child’s behavior, these are all external and do not deal with the internal problem. Only God through the work of Jesus Christ can begin transformation and transformational change. The Apostle Paul tells us that we are in need of transformation (Romans 12:2) and that transformation comes as a result of surrender on the basis of God’s mercy.
The second issue I have is where Rev. Emily states, “I want to be clear here for a minute that I am not saying this should become a country of Christians.”
Now if she is saying that she does not want the state to force anyone into claiming Christianity then I am completely with her. I do think that our founding fathers were wise in preventing America from having a state church. Every time the church has gotten political power it has been a train wreck for the church and for the people.
Now if she is saying that she does not have the desire for everyone to become a Christian then I must disagree with her. If we have the Truth, then why would we not want everyone to know it and be liberated by it? Yes, we should honor the wishes of those who do not want to hear our message. No-one should be forced to hear what we have to say. But respecting someone’s boundaries does not meant that I cannot wish them to be other than they are.
Our Gospel is truly good news or it is a false hope. If it is not true, they why should I bother believing it? If it is true, how could I not wish others to share the same joy that I have found? If Christianity is just one more social club or one more religious expression then count me out. If Christianity is just one way to gain spiritual enlightenment I don’t want it. I am not a Christian because it is convenient or easy.
I am a Christian because I believe that Jesus Christ truly is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). If he is that then I am compelled to present him as the only way the ultimate truth and the path to life. If he is not then Heaven help us, we have nothing to offer.