Thursday, April 8, 2010

On Past Enemies and Revenge

As you might expect, I had quite a few enemies when I was in school. I'm not going to name them here, especially since quite a few of my former classmates are friends with those people, but there were several of them. I expect that most of my friends were bullied or made fun of in school as well. For some people, it was just because of their name. Still others were made fun of for no other reason than that they were "different." Sometimes that was due to a disability; others, it was them being unique.
Whatever the reason, I know that I speak for a large community when I say that not having to deal with bullies anymore is one of the best things about being out of school. For those who are Christians, Jesus even mentioned us experiencing persecution, which would include being made fun of. Jesus said in John 15:20, "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." The Apostle Paul also said in Romans 12:19, "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord." As much as I feel like exacting revenge on those who hurt me, it's not the right thing to do.
Now, there were two points I wanted to make before I started this post. They might be a little long-winded, but I'm going to try my best to keep them concise. The first one is: I can sort of understand why I was made fun of in school. You may think it was wrong for those people to make fun of me, and I would agree with you. Still, I think that their insults were coming from being annoyed with me, and they had every right to be annoyed. Why? Well, I'm not going to go into a long list of everything I did in class that annoyed people from kindergarten until college graduation, but here are a few things: loud typing, singing in class, thinking I was smarter than everyone else, not being able to shut up about whatever I liked at the time, constantly complaining about problems in my life, etc. In fact, when it comes to not being able to shut up about whatever I was obsessed with, I'm reminded of an incident from 2003. Long story short, some of the kids in my youth group were teasing me, and I considered it harassment, so I sent an angry e-mail to the youth leader. One of the things I said--and this is not a direct quote, because that e-mail and its reply were deleted years ago--was:

I'm going to be honest here: Sometimes I think about leaving. Maybe I should switch to [another nearby church]. There was a guy I met there who liked [my obsession at the time] Hilary Duff. Maybe there, my obsession would be APPRECIATED, rather than continually made fun of.
The youth leader's reply was something to the effect of:

I'm going to be honest with you, too: Any time someone has an obsession (Hilary Duff, Redskins football, wrestling, etc.) they are going to endure teasing and from time to time it will hurt.
And, you know what? He was absolutely right. I don't know if I realized it when I first read it, but, what he said might very well explain why I was made fun of throughout school: I was obsessed. Also, it wasn't just me who endured teasing from church members, either. A fellow youth group member once was teased by someone up front because of his obsession with wrestling. I'm not saying that's wrong; what I'm saying is, whether it's playful teasing or flat-out harassment, people are going to say things when they notice someone being obsessed.
The second point I wanted to make was: At least some of the people who harassed me in school might regret it now. The worst bullying I endured happened in middle school. Those of you who remember what middle school was like, or have been around middle schoolers in the past decade, most likely understand why that's significant. Even some friends I went to middle school with don't even like to talk about what happened there. One friend said he "was a little crack-head back then." I did some dumb things in middle school, too; I claimed all but six people in my seventh grade lunch period weren't even worth the birth pains their parents put into having them, and I spent my entire eighth grade year obsessed with a dumb old sitcom and a washed-up celebrity. I don't even really like to talk about those things anymore; I'm just mentioning them to prove my point: most middle schoolers do things they regret later in life. I haven't spoken to most of those middle school bullies in several years, so I have no idea how they feel. For all I know, some of them could have become Christians.
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