Hello everyone! I’m finally back after a few weeks “break” (I had a lot of exams to do), we’ve got a new website (and it is awesome), we’re covering much more content, so my weekly thoughts won’t be only about games, but we’ll get a wider Christian view of the “Geek” world: today’s article is an example of this.
For the new readers: what I try to do with my weekly reflections is to give a Christian perspective on games, technology and other things that wouldn’t normally seem to require such a perspective.
I’m a seminarian, so I’m studying theology, philosophy and the Holy Bible, and I hope my contribution can be somehow helpful for your spiritual life, please pray for me to succeed in doing in an effective manner.
What I want to talk about today is cyber bullying.
Now, some people might say this isn’t as bad as “real life” bullying, but I completely disagree.
When we say “bullying” the first thing we normally think about is a person beating up another one, but the truth is that sometimes words can be as painful as fists and kicks (and even much more…). “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”
This is the reason why cyber bullying has to be considered as bad as “regular” bullying: on the internet you can only use words to hurt someone, but the victim suffers nonetheless… and sometimes we even hear about suicide as a consequence of cyber bullying. This is a serious problem and it doesn’t have to be underestimated.
Bullying can be defined as “making someone feel miserable” in various ways.
On the internet this can happen on online games, forums or social networks.
So the big question is how can a Christian, today, respond to cyber bullying?
I’ll try to read this problem in light of the commandment of love.
We know that this commandment (in short: love God and love others) should always reign over a Christian life. Loving God and the others is the first thing one should keep in mind when interacting with others.
We can look at two possible bullying situations that can happen while surfing the net or playing an online game.
The first possible situation I’d like to portray is when you are a victim of a bully. In this situation, as difficult as it can be, you can turn towards God, fully living the commandment of loving Him with all your heart, soul and mind (Cf. Matthew 22, 35-40). If the love toward God is what gives a sense to your life, nothing will scare you… not even people who bully you. He’ll be your shield, and what a shield He is!
The second situation is this: you are playing an online match, or you’re chatting on a forum and you see someone being bullied by someone else.
Now this is a bit of a more difficult situation, because the bullying doesn’t directly involve you, and yet you are a Christian… you can’t just stand there and watch.
I think it’s very important for a Christian to intervene in this kind of situations. But how can you do it in a correct manner that is also effective?
Once again, we have to consider the commandment of love. This time, considering the love toward your neighbor: loving him as yourself.
This second part of the commandment always seem to be more difficult, but the reality of the matter is that it is not. If you really love God, loving others comes as a natural consequence. The point is, often we think we love God, but we actually don’t… and the first time He refuses to remain in our schemes, and asks something difficult for us, we turn our backs on Him.
So how do you apply this second part of the commandment to a bullying scenario?
Of course, as the victim is your neighbor, you need to intervene, stopping the bully and protecting the weak, that needs to be done, but here’s something that not many people consider: the bully himself is your neighbor as well.
You have an obligation toward the victim, but also toward the bully, and while you can’t let him torment the victim, you have to think of his own good.
Of course, this is just a generic indication (as there are many possible scenarios and we can play the what if game all day), but it’s something we should keep in mind.
So, in both cases love is the answer… it often is. The attention towards the others comes natural when you love them, and loving them also comes natural when you love God. Letting him be present in our life is the only way to know him better, and to start trully loving him… seeing his commandment of love not just as a law that has to be respected, but as something that has to go deep in our heart and mind.
Only then will we know how to deal with difficult situations, such as cyber bullying.
Have you ever been cyber bullied? Have you ever witnessed someone being cyber bullied? What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments below!