Monday, October 4, 2010

Mentor Bites: Dealing With Bullying

It's time to speak up. It's time for Christians to not be silent anymore. It's time for those of us who care about the lives of our young people to use our voice.

This weekend in the church I serve, I preached a sermon based on the prophet Jeremiahs's words in the 29th chapter from verse 4 to 10. These words follow:
"This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 'Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.' Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,' declares the LORD."

Basically, the prophet is telling the exiled people that they are not going back to to Judah anytime soon... He is somewhat harsh but certainly speaks a word of truth to these people. You are not going home. It's going to be hard. But, do it anyway. Settle here. Your grandchildren will be born here, and probably your great-grandchildren too! Because the good news for them was that God was still with them, that even in exile God would continue to call them towards a home in grace and love.

Linked below is a heartbreaking message from the popular talk show host, Ellen. Watch it, pray and reflect. No matter where you are in your journey, we can all admit that there is a bullying epidemic in this country. Something has to be done. I have to believe that the prophet Jeremiah would tell us today to stop dreaming about the "good old days" when young people were nice to one another and bullying was not in their vocabulary. First of all, the prophet would know better because humans have always been humans and second. In any case, the prophecy still lives...WE MUST BE PRESENT. And the good news is still with us. In the promise of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God is with us.

Talk to the young person you are mentoring through the youTheology program this year. Talk to your youth groups. Talk to someone about what we can do in this country. More importantly, look in our congregations for the youth that are the least, the last and the lost.

The words of the prophet speaks to us as mentors of young people today...BE PRESENT. LISTEN. USE YOUR VOICE. CARE.

And pray. Pray for these devastated families. Pray that we will all find a better way.


Emily Carroll
youTheology Mentor Coordinator 2010-2011
Loving God, Loving Neighbor

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