I have been following the controversy down in Miami where Richie Incognito is accused of bullying fellow offensive linemen, Jonathan Martin- reportedly making him pay for meals, vacation, and using racial slurs on a voicemail. You can read an ESPN article here. As a former high school and college athlete (sadly, not a professional athlete!!)- there is a level of hazing that takes place- usually to welcome or initiate/welcome someone as part of the team. It’s a right of passage- but what has happened in Miami has obviously crossed the line into bullying.
My daughter, Abigail, is currently in 1st grade. In October, there was an initiative at school to teach students not to bully their classmates. We know that bullying takes place in our schools, our communities, and our workplaces.
As Christians, we are called to treat each other in a different manner. When humankind were created in Genesis we read, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” One of our basis beliefs about humanity is that we are created in the image of God. Because of this, each person, has sacred worth and value. It doesn’t matter about our skin color, differences, gender, ability/dis-ability, etc. Every person has sacred value and worth. In the second part of the “Greatest Commandment” (Mark 12:30-31) Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If we view others with sacred worth- and love others as we love ourselves- our world would have a much different feel to it!
For this reason- no person can be Incognito- no person can have the identity concealed or treated as a person of no value. No person should be invisible. God has created each of us, knows each of us, and desires for us to know Him. As believers, we must recognize the sacred value and worth that each person has. We must love our neighbors and treat them with the respect, honor, dignity, and worth that each person has from being created in the image of God.
The situation in Miami has rightfully brought bullying into the spotlight, especially for adults in the workplace. Those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ have a unique opportunity to speak life into our communities and workplaces by viewing each person we encounter as persons with sacred worth loving these people as we love ourselves. We have the opportunity to love those who are marginalized by the greater society on a macro and micro level- from our cities to our schools/churches/workplaces.