Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. ESV Philippians 2:3-4
Our youth director recently posted the viral video of 11 year old Keaton discussing bullying. We played it for our youth group last night and participated in a lively discussion about bullying. In my research on the lesson (checking the video, etc.) of course I came across the backlash circulating the internet as well. It seems that many of those who first stood up for Keaton quickly turned to bully his mother when they perceived racism and hypocrisy. What should a Christian response be to such a situation?
Perhaps our greatest guidance comes through Paul’s words in his letter to the Philippians. We should never act from selfish ambition or our own conceit. This applies to all parties. Bullies exist because they only want to advance their own standing. Some parents, bloggers, celebrities and the like are the same. Only God knows motives which is why in humility, we should count others as more significant than ourselves. In this way we should give others the benefit of the doubt. Was Keaton bullied or did he receive payback for saying nasty things? It seems best to consider him more significant than myself and assume he was bullied. Did his mom share the video to raise awareness of bullying or to make money? For the present, I’ll consider her motives generally positive. Did the celebrities and everyone who came to his aid do so to help a hurting kid or to further their careers? Again, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I certainly did nothing, so it hardly seems Christ-like to sit and judge the motives of others. Finally, we must look to the interests of others, not merely ourselves. This includes the interests of Keaton, his mother, his bullies, his principal, celebrities involved and those who contributed to the GoFundMe page. In each case, on some level, we have sinners moved by compassion. Micro-parsing each comment, action, or tweet is best left to God.
Finally, we conclude with the words of Jesus. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Regardless of the details of the Keaton’s story, there’s a lot of enemies and hatred in the world, calling us to a continual life of prayer.