Megan Meier was almost fourteen years old when a boy on Myspace courted her electronically. He told her how beautiful she was and how special she was to him. Then one day he turned on her, saying terrible things about her and rejecting her utterly. Distraught, Megan hanged herself.
|Frederic Remington’s “An Assault on His Dignity”|
The bully seeks to be more by making another person or class of persons less. Bullies take aim at the dignity of another human being.
|Egon Schiele’s “Self Portrait with Hand to Cheek”|
Maybe we think, “Who do you think your are?” or, “What a jerk!” The road from resentment to retaliation can be pretty short. That’s because we’ve forgotten a basic principle.
|Jean Dupas’ “Woman with Stole”|
Nope! When somebody else takes my stuff, the toddler inside of me wants to scream, “That’s mine! You can’t have it!” Again, it’s a short road from the resentment I feel toward thieves to my desire to strike out at them.
|Kathe Kollwitz’s “Need”|
That was the lesson of the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The owner of a vineyard hired workers at the beginning of the day, at the middle of the day, and at the end of the day. When the day’s work was done, that owner paid everybody the standard day’s wages. Those who worked the longest were furious. The owner simply said, “It’s my money. I’ve given you what’s fair. Why are your resentful about my generosity?” (Matthew 20:1-16)