Nothing Can Separate Us...

-an article for the April 2002 Deep Cove Crier
My family and I recently watched 'Tagged', a Canadian movie on CTV about  Jonathan Wamback, a 16 year old boy who was mercilessly bullied,  beaten and left for dead. Repeatedly kicked in the head with steel-toe  boots, Jonathan's skull was shattered, and he almost died three times on  the way to surgery. After spending his 16th summer in a coma, he  miraculously gradually recovered. When Jonathan was well enough, he had  this overwhelming desire to go back to the very high school where he had  been so badly bullied and rejected. This gripping movie ends with  Jonathan courageously walking back into school like a wounded bird that  would not go away. Nothing could separate Jonathan from his school.

Watching the re-enactment of Jonathan being kicked in the head brought  back vivid memories of myself being kicked in the head at the same age  while surrounded by a frenzied gang. Fortunately for me, I was able to  jump on my 10-speed Pugeot and escape before it was too late. But my  ears ached and rang for days after that. Ashamed, separated, and slimed  by that bullying, I never told my parents until years later.

Years later I now realize that I had nothing to be ashamed of, and in  fact could just as easily have ended up in hospital like Jonathan  Wamback. Bullying kills. Bullying shames. Bullying steals life and joy  from others.
I thank God for Jonathan Wamback who would not let bullies separate him  from his school and his friends. Bullying can so easily fill us with  fear and bitterness. It can so easily separate us from the most  important things in our life.

Until I could forgive my attacker, I was actually in bondage to him  spiritually and emotionally. Once I could begin to forgive him, I began  to be free. I learnt that unforgiveness and bitterness is like a wall  that separates people from our life. My desire for revenge created a  spiritual apartheid that left me cut off and shut down. When I met Jesus  Christ in Grade 12, I experienced such forgiveness and joy that my  family initially worried about me. Later they came to see that this new  inner peace was more than one more passing fad. The wall of emotional  apartheid, created by bullying, was gone.

This amazing inner peace has taught me that nothing can separate me from  those I love. Nothing can separate me from those who care for me.  Nothing can separate me from the things that really matter in life.  Nothing can separate me from my faith and deepest values. I am convinced  that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the  present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor  anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that  is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38). No bully, no bitterness, no  bigotry can rob me of love, can rob me of faith, can rob me of  forgiveness in Jesus Christ. My prayers for those reading this article  is that nothing will separate us from the amazing love of God found in  Jesus Christ.

The Reverend Ed Hird, Rector, St. Simonís Anglican Church

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