I went to school with this girl. There were very few of us in our class, and as little girls do, we bonded. Naturally, we reminisced a lot of our childhood, elementary days.
We talked about our how chubby she was back then, we talked about our teachers, we talked about the crush we shared... aaand about our bully.
Man, he was such a bully like no other. Of course, to anyone who was bullied, his/her bully is always someone like no other. So, to me, he was a bully like no other. He consistently terrorized me with what mattered most to me in those days, and even now: WORDS.
He teased (and “tease” is a rather conservative word, trust me) me endlessly!
About my nose. My eyes. My height. My skin color.
He called me names I would rather not repeat and choose to forget but some I simply cannot erase from memory.
He called me ugly.
That I went to a private Baptist elementary school mattered little, not to mention the fact that this boy was a pastor’s kid. Actually, that made matters worse. I felt he was untouchable, that the reason he could get away with everything was because his dad got up in the pulpit.
No one, as far as I know and remember, told him off.
The one time I finally got the moxie to talk back to him and tease him back for his dark skin, his mother (who was also a teacher at the school), called me to her office and scolded me. So unfair.
I went to high school bearing all the damage elementary school and this kid gave me. I became very insecure. My previous experiences with him taught me to be as unobtrusive as possible, to try to not get anyone notice me, and as a result I became very quiet, always hesitating to participate. I had no real friends.
Why bring up all this past?
I bring this all up because this is part of my life that God redeemed for a very long time.
Because kids constantly hurt each other, and those wounds can scar for a very long time.
Because these wounds can cause significant impacts, and we grow up one way, sensing that something has gone wrong, but not knowing what it is, and what caused it.
Because adults can take a proactive role in teaching children that this is wrong. In my case, no one told me that I was wronged. No one told my bully that what he was doing was wrong.
I’m still single and do not have a kid yet, but I can say with certainty that parents’ and other adults’ roles in the formation of a child is important and cannot be taken lightly.
It is with peace in my heart and ease of conscience that I say that I have forgiven my bully.
Years of encouragement from loving people around me, years of discipleship and mentoring, years of learning to get affirmation from God and His Word has helped me forgive him and realize that he has likely been going through some difficulties I could never even imagine.
He is a pastor now, just like his dad, and the last time we spoke, I learned that he is helping out to get a new ministry started.
God has redeemed me, and He has redeemed my bully.