He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. – Isaiah 53:2b-3
I suppose that almost every kid that has lived through childhood has experienced being bullied. That’s bad enough, but when you’re a boy and a group of girls decides to take you on, that’s the epitome of humiliation.
It happened to me when I was eight or nine years old. I was walking home from school one day when five or six girls decided to gang up on me. They were one to two years older than I. It all began when one of them asked me if I went to Sunday school.
I said, “Surely!!”
That set them off and one of the girls said, “My name is Shirley.”
Then they all started pointing at me alongside the busy highway shouting, “Ha, ha, ha! He’s Shirley! He’s Shirley!” They knocked me down and knocked my glasses off and took turns hitting me.
I went home crying. My parents helped ease things slightly by naming two or three men whose names were Shirley. But this was the beginning of daily dread for me.
They taunted me in the hallways at school. They teased me on the playground.
One morning, they caught me in the gym while I was shooting baskets by myself. They threw me on the floor and started hitting me.
One of my classmates named Burl came in and saw what was happening. He wasn’t much bigger than I, but he said, “My mother taught me never to hit a lady, but you are no ladies!” And he tore into them like a vicious guard dog. I never saw a bunch of girls scatter so fast in my life as those girls did.
Burl took the risk and it stopped them from any further devilment towards me.
Well over fifty years later, I met Burl for the first time since that long-ago day. He remembered the incident and we gave each other a big hug.
Not long after that, he was killed in an explosion of a gas tank on his farm, and I had the opportunity to share this story at his memorial service.
As I was reflecting on what to write this week, it occurred to me that there was another little boy who was likely bullied while growing up. All the evidence points to it.
He was the smartest kid in his class in school, and he was very much at home debating issues with the movers and the shakers of his society.
As he grew to manhood, the bullying never stopped. In his hometown, he gave his first sermon in his place of worship. Everyone seemed to be favorably impressed until he began to tell them from their own scriptures that God treated those of other races and ethnicities the same.
These “churchmen” were not KKK, but their militancy was right up there with them. They seized him, dragged him out to the edge of town, and tried to throw him down to the bottom of a steep hill, although he managed to escape.
This would not be the last time this man, now an adult, would face this kind of activity. There were constant threats on his life because he was so radically and, not incidentally refreshingly, different from the norm.
They finally got their way, hauled him into court, and falsely accused him of being a traitor to his church, his community, and his nation.
This innocent man who was seemingly bullied into oblivion on an executioner’s cross was none other than Jesus Christ.
When he hung his head and said, “It is finished,” they thought they had rid the earth of him.
But those words, fatalistic as they sounded, rang with life that not one of his accusers understood.
And the final verdict in the courts of heaven declared: Not guilty!
And that declaration was the first of millions upon millions of people who have occupied this planet ever since.
To this very day, He brings deliverance from the evil that seems so prevalent in our world. He offers life that will never end, that will ultimately be free from man’s inhumanity to man, or as was my case, girls’ inhumanity to boys.
It is to Him the quote at the beginning of the Blogspiration refers. So if you, like I, have been bullied at one time or another, there is at least one person who understands what you have gone through. His amazing grace is extended to all who believe!