While people are still processing the suicide of a 12-year-old Florida girl over apparent bullying, today news comes of another school shooting. Early reports indicate that bullying may have led a young middle school boy to pull a gun out in class, killing one teacher and wounding two other students. No official reports have been released but some who knew the young man (who also was killed, though police say they did not fire upon the student) say he was a victim of bullying.
Thursday we took at look at one of the realities of bullying: the world is in desperate need of Savior. Today we’ll look at the second reality: the world is in desperate need of Christians who will live like their Savior.
There are far too many Christians who pay lip service to Jesus, but don’t back up their words with actions. Jesus didn’t have time for those kinds of “followers” and writers like Paul, James, John and Peter spoke harshly against those who would profess Jesus with their mouths but fail to convey Him with their lives. James wrote the following:
“But some will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18
“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” James 2:26
James is message is so clear: don’t claim you know Jesus with what you say, if you don’t plan to back it up with how you live. In other words, the world needs to see Christians who are striving to live like their Savior.
As a young youth pastor, just a couple years into my first ministry, a young man passed away in the community. He and several friends had gone to a party and all of them participated in underage drinking and were all substantially intoxicated. After the party, the girl who was “least drunk” agreed to drive home while two other passengers hopped in the car.
On the way home, the drunk teenage girl crossed a center line and struck another vehicle head on while driving on a small, two-lane, country highway. Her two passengers were killed. One instantly, and one several weeks later after several surgeries and medical procedures were unable to bring the young man out of his coma.
In the aftermath, several students talked about how they wished they had spoken up. I remember one young lady in particular who had been at the party, who had watched her three drunk friends head out to the car, and who said nothing though she was sober and knew their choice was a bad one. She was rattled with guilt.
I wonder what would have happened in Florida last month, if one student had stepped in and tried to live like Jesus. If one student had offered a little hope to a girl being overwhelmed by evil, I wonder if this story could have been different. Jesus was reaching out to people all the time, stepping into their heartache, and their pain, in order to offer hope. The world needs a Savior, and the world is in desperate need of Christians who will live like their Savior.
A few weeks ago my wife offered hope to a struggling young lady (read that story here). But how many times do you and I see some injustice, some deep pain inflicted on another human being, and we walk by as though it’s none of our business, or as though you and I don’t have the message of hope that is needed? Helping people is messy. Engaging hurting people will take up your time, sometimes your money, and always your energy and sympathy.
But isn’t the price worth it?
Let’s help put an end to bullying by living out our faith with actions. Let’s stop sitting passively on the side while others suffer, and step into the messiness of helping others just as our Savior did. The world needs Jesus, and often, the way they will find Him is through the lives of His followers who choose to live as He did. Will you help?
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!