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Gramps,

First, I love the Q&As that we see from you on Facebook. I didn’t think until to ask your thoughts on this.  When I was in middle and high school I was bullied, mostly by one guy in particular. After I graduated high school (this was in ‘09), about a month after graduation, during one of my daily prayers I asked Heavenly Father to deal with those who bullied me. Exactly one week after that prayer I read in the newspaper that he drowned. I definitely wasn’t asking for anyone to die but I do know Heavenly Father answers prayers, sometimes in unexpected ways. Thoughts on this?

Joseph

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Answer

 

Dear Joseph,

Thank you so much for sharing your childhood experience, although sad and painful to recount, it serves as a reminder to all of us that we are only human and have faults which with time they will become strengths. I was recently talking with a friend about this very subject and he recounted the experience he had as a child which almost resembles your story. I have asked permission to share his story as I have been given it.

“ I remember growing up in a middle class neighborhood in mexico, where it was typical to see children playing in the playground, soccer field, basketball court, baseball field, or just plain empty fields.

 

As I watched these children playing and laughing, I had a sense of longing to participate and join in the fun. I didn’t grow up having many friends but I knew I could have fun playing like the other kids in the neighborhood.

 

One day, I got the courage to ask my mom to let me play with them and she said yes. I was excited. I knew this was my opportunity to make friends and play and laugh just like them. When I approached the group of kids who were playing soccer, I stood by the sidelines and watched with a real desire to join in the game but said nothing. One kid turned to me and asked if I wanted to play and I immediately jumped out of my skin with excitement. At that moment, the leader of the group had a different idea. He wanted to ridicule and mock me in front of all of his friends. I often felt powerless and angry but knew I could do nothing because I didn’t have a black belt in karate like he did. After that, if I wanted to be a part of the group, I needed to be humiliated and bullied to the point of almost crying. But I never did cry in front of them as it was a sign of weakness. But boy oh boy, did I ever wish him to die. I often thought to myself, ‘when I grow up I will learn karate and I will kick his butt”!

 

The years passed; I and my family moved away to a different country. On a return trip my mother had made to our old neighborhood about three years later, she had overheard that (the boy who had bullied me, those years ago), had overdosed and had passed away.

 

When my mom returned home, she shared with me what had happened to (the bully) and I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of guilt and sorrow. I excused myself and went to my room, knelt down and I prayed for his soul, for his family and for forgiveness. I knew I had sinned by wishing his death, and now, I felt the pain of such line of thinking. Soon after I finished my prayer, I felt peace in my heart and a sense of being forgiven.

 

To this day I still pray for that young man and his family and strive to be kind to others and advocate for those who are bullied.”

 

It is not always easy to “turn the other cheek”.

Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is filled with those who are meek and lowly of heart.

Wishing someone’s death, or wishing them harm due to their relentless bullying is not only normal but an expected emotion. Having the knowledge of a greater plan and how we are experiencing life here on earth as part of that greater plan, endows us with power from above. Power to do good. Power to forgive. Power to serve.

Yes, God indeed does answer our prayers. He indeed hears us. He indeed is mindful of our existence. Someone’s death may not be necessarily an answer to our prayers but, it’s the result of someone’s actions and choices. If someone’s earthly journey ends here on earth, it had already be determined within the plan and not as a result of someone’s prayer. However, I don’t believe in coincidences but in the great timing of God, which is perfect.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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