“Ugly girl” is what they nicknamed her.
She was desperately poor, reeked for lack of hygiene, and wore the same tattered clothing day in and day out. Her buckteeth had linear stains across the front and her hair unkempt. She was easy prey for the mob.
"Ugly girl" was brutally bullied by the hate-filled teens at my school. High school is simply a microcosm of society at large. Pure and raw emotion without logic and truth constraining it. A world that eats the weak and strips them of their dignity.
How do you fight an evil that is so pervasive?
Lately we have seen mankind’s inherent savagery on display in its murderous and hateful spirit like never before. It's not that this spirit hasn’t been here all along, but in the era of constant surveillance, it can no longer hide and we can longer ignore.
At the helm is an enemy who peddles in division. I imagine the devil sitting back, eating popcorn, and enjoying the show as every "ism" under the sun is weaponized. It is an "us-vs-them" society where no one wins as we grow further apart.
Division doesn’t seek to understand another’s story or viewpoint, it has no patience for that! It listens defensively if it listens at all. It doesn't seek to truly understand, it has it's mind made up already.
Satan also peddles in hate and he will sell his wares to whoever will buy them. Who's camp is who's doesn't matter, hate isn’t picky… it will gladly make a home in both.
Hate brings no life. It doesn't fix nor solve anything.
It doesn't lift up but seeks to oppress and put another under-foot.
Hate kills, steals, and destroys. It is sin plain and simple.
At hate's core is the lie that others are beneath - lower than - less than. This is the lens with which it looks through and how its' possessor can so easily dishonor and dismiss another fellow human being.
Hate prefers the one-up and power-over stance. It knows nothing of humility, grace, or mercy. In hate's eyes, certain lives are expendable and disposable. Hate picks and chooses winners and losers; but mostly losers.
Hate doesn’t see, nor acknowledge, the preciousness of every soul, and that all matter to the One who died for them.
What to do about "Ugly girl"?
My heart was torn up for this vulnerable soul but at a complete loss on how to help her.
There was no way I would stand by and do nothing and everything within me screamed to fight and protect. Wisdom, however, spoke a better path and one less futile.
I was no match for the horde that was too big, too strong, and hell-bent on devouring her. But God was more than capable and so I fervently sought Him on her behalf.
I believed God had me here for such a time as this and I wouldn't squander it.
I knew the weapons of warfare were not carnal and so I needed a spiritual battle plan. I was ill-equipped to fix the real problem which would require a change of hearts and minds but I knew the One who could. I entrusted this situation to Him.
I had to recognize that I had been no better and had done my fair share of preying on those weaker than I or different than I. This presented an opportunity to reflect and be the change I was asking others to be. Honesty and humility were required.
If God were to use me to combat this evil, then He would need to fill me with His power and show me what to do.
I befriended her. At school, I spent time with her and welcomed the stigma that came from associating with someone deemed "less than." I let her know she mattered and that this was wrong, that they were wrong. I would be there, with her. I would not be silent. If she was going to endure this hate, she would not do it alone.
I showed evil what love looked like. It didn't matter if hate mocked it or scorned it, love stood its ground. I entrusted the results to God.
God told me to care for her basic needs and her spiritual needs. So, I packed a bag of soon-to-be-donated clothes, dropped in a gospel tract, and brought them to her home. I invited "ugly girl" and her family to a Thanksgiving dinner the church was hosting. To my amazement, they came and took home a few extra plates of food.
And just like that, I never saw "ugly girl" again.
She didn't return to school. I thought of her often and wondered if she found that gospel tract I nestled in the bag. Perhaps she met Jesus, the One who could be her strength and peace in a harsh and cruel world.
And then the news came... A year later a fellow church-goer approached me and asked, “Do you remember that poor girl and family you brought to church?” How could I forget! “I was at a church in a neighboring town and saw her and her whole family being baptized!”
Baptized! Did you hear that?!? She came to know Jesus!
Nothing can compete with that and no one can protect that precious soul as He can.
I don't know if my actions changed the hearts or minds of any of the haters but I am hopeful that they did. Change seems to happen one heart at a time.
What to do with these present circumstances?
This world is still in the grips of the evil one... but Jesus has paraded the devil about the heavens and will one day toss him into a pit from which he will not escape. In the meantime Christians we cannot stand by and do nothing. We were called for a time such as this, let's not squander it!
"Blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9). This does not describe those who live in peace, but those who actually bring about peace, overcoming evil with good.
"You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). We must have a greater concern than only ourselves, and we cannot live only to ourselves; we must shine and do so lovingly. "If ye burn dimly, dim is the world’s light, and dense its darkness.” (Spurgeon)
"Love must be without hypocrisy. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9). We are called to love and no exceptions are given. Love can change the way people see human dignity. Love honors. It "does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13: 6-8a).
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). We each have a unique God-purposed path to take. Pray, listen, heed, and act. God help us!