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Guilty Bully
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It started with an exchange of e-mails from someone I will call James. He had seen my website, and wrote, asking if I were the same Mark Lardas that had attended the elementary school we had both attended. We had been classmates in Kindergarten through second grade.
He wanted help identifying other common classmates from our class photos of that era.  I was not much help, as I could barely remember more than a half-dozen names from that period. I barely remembered him. He was a faded image from my past.
The e-mailing petered out after a few exchanges, when I became too busy to respond. I owed him a response for some questions, but I am horribly delinquent as a correspondent.

Then I got another e-mail from him. It was an apology. He and another classmate had bullied me. From his description, while it sounded extreme, it fell within the type of expected misbehavior characteristic of small boys. Afterwards, when his mother found out about it, she forced him to apologize to me. But he was afraid that I now thought badly about him because of that incident.

Forgotten It

I did not dislike him because of the incident that he described because I had not even remembered it. Even after his detailed description of the event, I cannot really say I remember. Likely I had accepted his apology at that time, and simply dismissed it. He had apologized. That was the end of it. Certainly it made no lasting impression or permanent scar if I had so thoroughly forgotten it.

I was bullied a lot as a child. It was probably inevitable. I was different – clumsy, overweight, and clever. I also did not care to conform, choosing my own path, regardless of consequences.  

I survived bullying. I do not believe I am better because I was bullied as a child, neither do I feel I was scarred or damaged by it. I am independent and self-reliant, but who is to say whether that is a result of my experiences or a cause of them? I am certainly not bothered by the bullying I experienced, any more than I am bothered by two hurricanes I lived through. Unpleasantness passes.

If bullying is evil (I believe it a minor form of evil), perhaps as the Bible states, evil comes back on those that practice it. Luke 6:45 states: “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.” In my case, the bully remembered what he had done nearly 50 years later and still felt guilt over an incident that I had forgiven and dismissed long ago. Maybe in the long run, it hurts the one that bullies more than the one he bullies.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken

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