And, while I know that this post was accurate in so many ways, it didn't address those in our society who DON'T act like victims, but instead seem to walk with their heads high and let the words roll off their back.
I can tell you that those words don't fall off without leaving scars.
I can tell you that the weight of those words causes their head to hang a little lower than it did previously.
I can tell you that having this happen time and time again does damage.
I'm walking along side someone right now who is feeling the effects of a nickname. And while this moniker was given at a time that this person probably did seem to embody it, he is not at all that person today. And this name being slung at him by those who are peers, are supposed to be Christian, and who are with him five days a week, is taking its toll.
I have a hard time giving counsel in this area, so I wrote a short novel to a close friend who has a similar situation in her life. It seems that both of the people we want to help respond the same way to the attacks: they simply laugh or smile and try to move past the comment. They, being young, don't know HOW to approach repaying an insult with kindness, as 1 Peter 3:9 commands. Instead, they repay with indifference or subtle acceptance and bury the comments deep inside. This only reinforces the bad behavior by those who are acting like bullies.
My close friend had pearls of wisdom in this area: we need to admit that we don't always have the answers. We can pray and talk about situations but sometimes we need to bring in experts; good, loving Christian counslors who have seen this all before and have credibility that parents of teenagers often don't.
My friend and I agreed that knowing HOW to defend yourself in situations that are uncomfortable is half the battle; tweens and teenagers don't have the life experience to know how to respond when the world rears its ugly head and attacks. We have to TEACH them this skill or let someone we trust, who has the experience, help us help them. If we don't do this, they may never learn when it is right to stand up for themselves.
Imagine my surprise when I read this today. In my eyes, Ms. Baur is living 1 Peter 3:9 in the public eye. She is affecting change in this world by educating the ignorant. She is standing up for herself in exactly the way I hope the person I am trying to help will learn to respond.
Last night I prayed aloud over this person. I prayed that one special friend would enter his life. I prayed that he would persevere through the trials. I prayed for the people who were using the nickname, that whatever hurt inside of them, that which caused them to feel it appropriate to hurt others, would be healed.
On this new day, I pray for the best route to take in this situation, to support him and love him, no matter the outcome of his interactions with those around him. I pray that I will say the right things to the right people, whose ears will be open to listening and whose heart will respond appropriately. Mostly, I pray that this whole experience brings every one involved closer to Christ.
I am encouraged that this will all work out for Christ's greater good, as I read "...we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Romans 5:3-4) And I am filled with hope because I am relying on my steady rock, my Lord, my Savior, to guide us through this rocky trial.
Thanks be to the God who can redeem any situation for His glory!