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Harmless Jokes?

bieberIt was anti-bullying day on Wednesday. A great movement. It’s time to be aware that bullying is a big issue and that it needs to be dealt with, but it also brought to mind some other stuff that is going on in North America that has been really bothering me lately…

The Justin Bieber “loser takes him” fight.

It’s not as though I agree with all of the decisions Justin Bieber has made, or that I am a “Belieber” (in fact I probably couldn’t even name a single one of his songs), but I’ve certainly been made aware of how our “harmless jokes” can be negatively impacting his life. He is a celebrity, but contrary to what the Muppets say…a celebrity IS a person.

First of all, I can’t believe that enough people in America signed a petition to have his Green Card revoked that it actually requires a response from the White House. If that’s the case then petitions should be started on a daily basis for every 19 year old who makes dumb decisions…or who basically just acts like a vast majority of 19 year olds…

What started as a “funny” joke then escalated to having all these memes around the Facebook world during the Olympics that whoever lost the semi-final hockey game between Canada and the USA had to “keep” Bieber. Add to that the “you broke it you bought it” memes. I’m pretty sure you can see where I’m going with this…

Looks suspiciously like bullying.

Why do we stand up for bullying the kid in the classroom but ignore the same thing when it’s an adult celebrity? I’ve heard the excuses and the justification for why it’s OK to treat celebrities this way but what I see is that we are teaching our kids that bullying really is OK. Justin Bieber is a person. Sure he is an adult now and probably isn’t making the greatest decisions, but the biggest thing is that the paparazzi just makes sure we know about it. So we can all sit in our glass houses and judge and criticize and make fun of him because we all KNOW about the things he is doing that we don’t approve of.

When we laugh and make fun of him and pass around the memes, what are we telling our kids? That it’s just a harmless joke? Isn’t that the excuse that people who bully use all the time? It’s just a harmless joke. Tell that to the people who are being bullied. We talk about bullying as though it is just a problem in our schools, but the sad reality is that it happens everywhere. It’s in our workplaces…it’s in our churches! We just choose to view bullying through whatever lens is most convenient for us.

Andy Stanley taught that if we only got ONE of Jesus’ teachings right then this world would be a markedly different place. This is the teaching: Love others. Simple. Imagine the life of Justin Bieber if he felt more loved than judged…and not loved in the “posters on the wall, screaming fans, rock-star” kind of love.

Let’s face it. Until we model and teach this idea of loving other people, our kids aren’t going to get the message about bullying. We can wear pink shirts and carve out days to raise awareness, but the real change is going to happen when our kids notice that we aren’t making fun of people, criticizing them, or calling them names…even as a “joke”.

So let’s really take a stand against bullying by recognizing that it doesn’t just happen in our elementary schools. Let’s be aware of what we are modeling as parents and leaders and let’s just LOVE.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jordangadsby.com/harmless-jokes/

2 comments

  1. Serrena Sapara

    HI thank you for your very inspiring speech I understand where you come from and I have experienced bullying myself. You are a very good influence and amazing worship leader!!!!

    1. Jordan Gadsby

      Thanks Serrena! I appreciate your comments and I’m sure YOU’LL make an amazing worship leader someday! Excited to see where God takes you!!

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