A 14-year-old Georgia girl contemplated suicide because of the intensive and persistent bullying she received at school. Her ears were different. It was enough to lead to bullying and to profound abuse of this innocent victim. ABC News reported on this bullied teen story.
The girl qualified for plastic surgery from a foundation that helps children with birth defects. The cost? About $40,000, and it did give her a new image. It did give her more confidence. The bullying is likely to stop. She has forgiven….it seems with some residual anger, but that is understandable because forgiveness takes time.
We at the International Forgiveness Institute surely do not oppose the plastic surgery as one solution to a horrendous bullying problem, but we would like to take this time to proclaim—as loudly and as persistently across the globe as we can—this message: “The primary solution to the bullying is to get to the heart of the anger inside those who bully.” Most of those who bully have been bullied, and not necessarily in school as the first experience.
Consider an analogy. Suppose we are in the film, The Time Machine, in which the Morlocks are continually bullying the more gentle Eloi. The Morlocks kidnap some of the Eloi at random and cannibalize them. What if our first line of defense was to go into the cave, find the captured Eloi, and release them? While this is well and good, it misses this critical point: We have not gotten to the heart of this problem, which is the hearts of the Morlocks who see the Eloi as fresh meat. We have to change the hearts of the Morlocks so that they see the Eloi, not as fresh meat, but as precious persons, special, unique, and irreplaceable. And this takes time….lots of time…. to change hearts in this way. It takes practice in forgiving those who have abused them so that they begin to “see with new eyes” the true humanity in others, all others, even those who are now seen as fresh meat.
We at the International Forgiveness Institute have a curriculum to help those who are angry, who are abusive, who see others as fresh meat. It is a new Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Curriculum available in our store. This 8-lesson program is intended to focus on the anger inside of the one who bullies, to understand that anger, fix it through forgiveness, and then use these insights to encourage those who bully to now use this surgery-of-their-angry-hearts for good in the world, specifically toward those on whom they have been displacing their toxic anger.
Plastic surgery? OK. Surgery of the angry heart? Yes, without question…and the sooner the better in every school in the world.