Owen Faces the Baseball Bully
Owen isn’t the greatest baseball player on his school team, but he isn’t the worst.
When he’s in the outfield, the other outfielder Matt says things under his breath like, “stupid, dang!” every time Owen misses a ball. What’s most galling to Owen is that Matt misses the ball more often than he does!
He knows that if he tells, his coach will say, “Work it out!”
He has said to Matt, “I’m not stupid, and quit saying that!” But Matt only laughs and says, “stupider…stupider…” Owen has even wanted to catch Matt behind the dugout where the coach can’t see and just punch him. But Matt is a pretty big guy who has pulled this on a lot of people.
What should Owen’s next move be? (rate the answers; the best answer would be #1; the least likely answer #4)
- Jesus said, “Turn the other cheek” when people pick on you. With a command put this plainly, Owen is clearly obligated to ignore or even be nice to bullies.
- Owen should remind Matt that he misses more fly balls than Owen does. Jesus even says in John 8:32, “the truth will set you free.”
- Loving the whole team is most important. He might try saying, “Look. If you make me drop the ball with all the distractions, it could cause us to lose a game. Is that what you want? Because if so, I’m going to ask for a position change.” And ask for one if he does it again.
- If you don’t confront a bully, he will never respect you. Owen should say, “Why don’t we settle this off the field later, big guy?” After all, David took on Goliath.
Some bullies bully because it gives them a high, a false sense of power. Because Owen’s bully might be this type, it’s actually not wise to turn the other cheek once a pattern has been seen. To do so “empowers” this type of bully and actually “enables” him to bully others. The Golden Rule, as stated in Matthew 7:12, does not just mean to treat the bully the way you would want to be treated; it means to treat the people he or she may bully the way you would want to be treated.
While threatening him or insulting him is not in the Christian order of business, confronting him is. Owen may save his teammates from being targeted in the future. A reminder that they’re on the same team and they don’t want the whole team to suffer would be a wise next step. It is also shifting the focus off of either Owen’s annoyance or Matt’s wrongdoing and back to the positive—back to the whole team and the best way to win a game.
Most Christian Response:
What should Owen’s next move be?
Loving the whole team is most important. He might try saying, “Look. If you make me drop the ball with all the distractions, it could cause us to lose a game. Is that what you want? Because if so, I’m going to ask for a position change.” And ask for one if he does it again.
Bullying is far too common–and something that needs to be talked about during your children’s church meetings. How do you think your students will respond to this devotional? Share your thoughts below.