Thursday, February 21, 2013

End Bullying"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Who came up with that? Almost everyone I know bears the invisible scars of the words of someone from their past, words that lodge themselves deep in the psyche and hurt again and again.

Over the past few months we have been inundated with stories about children being bullied. In the Fall of 2012 it was Amanda Todd of Coquitlam, B.C. who committed suicide after posting a video on you-tube telling her story (Posted below). In my work with people I often hear stories of bullying experiences, sometimes many years old, that have damaged self-esteem and, in some cases, lead to suicide.


Schools and governments have been trying to find ways to eliminate bullying, often by focusing on self-esteem or support groups such as the Gay-straight alliance imposed upon Ontario schools by the Ontario government. The challenge is to start enough support groups for each category of person who is bullied. It can't be done.

The sad truth is that there will always be bullies - people who feel better about themselves by inflicting pain on others. I was smaller in High School and was beaten up by some older kids. Others are picked on because of their weight, clothes, haircut, disability, religion; some of them even by teachers.

While this problem will likely never be eradicated, each of us can begin now to make a difference. I think this is where the journey begins. When I decide that I won't let someone be bullied around me, I make a difference. When we choose to reach out to someone who has been marginalized, we make a difference. When we build inclusive communities where everyone is welcome, and no-one is excluded, we make a difference. When we take our negative experiences, and use them to help others, we make a difference. That's what Shane Koyczan did. Watch his video below and share it. I'm sure it will help a lot of people. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Review: "Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine ""Grace is not blind. It sees the hurt full well. But grace chooses to see God's forgiveness even more. It refuses to let hurts poison the heart." Max Lucado has long been one of my favorite authors, largely because of quotes like this one. He is a wordsmith; he has a way of expressing things that clarifies and illuminates truth. His book "Grace" is no exception.

There perhaps is no other subject as pertinent or as necessary for society today than the subject of grace. It is a universal need. The good news that Lucado shares in this book is that it is also universally available. As he says in the first chapter, "Grace hugged the stink out of the prodigal and scared the hate out of Paul and pledges to do the same in us."

In this book, Max uses Biblical passages, like the woman caught in the act of adultery and the story of Barabbas, as well as illustrations of his own life and the lives of others, to weave together a beautiful portrait of grace. We're lead to understand why grace is necessary at all, breaking apart the myth of our own goodness. Then we're shown why it is provided: each of us is loved by God - "You are loved by your maker not because you try to please Him and succeed, or fail to please Him and apologize, but because He wants to be your Father."
Max Lucado
Part of the beauty of grace is what happens as a result. We see lives transformed, hope restored and relationships mended. We are given a new outlook, a new lease on life. Some would say that this isn't fair, but that's why it's called "the scandal of grace." None of us deserves it - that's why it's called grace.

Concluding the book is a Reader's Guide, which is helpful for those who would like to use this book as a devotional or as a small group study. Included are pertinent quotes, a review and then some applicable questions.

All in all, Max has done it again, providing material that is highly quotable and deeply meaningful for the seeking heart. I hope you enjoy it.

Related Articles:
Book Review: I Am A Follower
Book Review: "The Grace of God"
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