Recently I saw a Facebook post that described one teacher’s attempt to end bullying in her class. She got two apples and, while the students were not present, dropped the second one on the floor several times. After her class came in for the day, she had them individually praise the first apple. When they were done, she sliced it in half, showing a nice, juicy apple.
Then she had the kids demean the second apple, the one she had dropped. She had them call it names and tell it how ugly and stupid it was. When she sliced it open, it was of course bruised inside. She told the kids that that’s what happens when you bully someone.
Frankly, I have a couple of objections to this demonstration. First, it would teach little kids a lie, that name-calling bruises apples.
Second—and more important–it would increase bullying rather than decrease it.
The whole thing is predicated upon the belief that bullies don’t know what they’re doing, don’t realize the pain they’re causing. I beg to differ. Kids aren’t stupid. Bullies know exactly what they’re doing.
You can’t tell me that when a bully has her victim in tears and continues to call her names that she doesn’t know she’s causing pain.
If one of my teachers had performed a trick like this, I would have been cringing because I would have known the bullying I was already enduring was about to get worse, a lot worse.
You see, the girls in the class who bullied me would have been thrilled with the bruising in the second apple. It was exactly what they were aiming for, and this little stunt would show them how successful they were.
Bullies delight in their victim’s pain, in watching them suffer.
Don’t believe me?
Guess what. It’s right there in the Bible, which describes the worst incidence of bullying in history: the crucifixion. The chief priests and scribes enjoyed seeing Jesus suffering on the cross. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark tell us they jeered Him while they were there. (Matthew 27:41-43, Mark 15:31-32) Think about it: why interrupt your day to walk all the way from Jerusalem to Golgatha if you’re not going to get anything out of it?
Those priests and scribes made a deliberate trip so they could not only delight in the pain they were causing but add to it with their mockery.
As horrible as that was, Jesus is still being bullied today.
Those who bully don’t stop to think that they also are adding to Christ’s sufferings, for whatever we do to others we do to Him.
That’s the only “apple bruising” that probably never occurs to them.