I was severely bullied in school. And by "severely bullied in school," I mean that from first through twelfth grade not a day went by without someone either laughing at me or calling me names. I've been laughed at for talking, laughed at for wearing the wrong kinds of shoes, and laughed up for merely walking down the hallway. I've been called "faggot" and "gay" so many times that for a while I thought I really was a homosexual (although I never thought of men that way). I was never beaten up, though; the words hurt more than a thousand punches.
I tried to pretend that the bullying didn't bother me. I wore black, sneered, and stuck up my middle finger at anyone and everyone who dared to look at me funny. But I wasn't fooling anyone. I would eventually break down and cry, and sneak into the bathroom to cut my arms. The scars on my body reflected the scars I felt inside.
And many of my bullies claimed to be Christians. They didn't really act like it though; they were always talking about smoking weed and getting laid. And yet they wore huge crosses and those WWJD wrist bands. Since I didn't really grow up in the Church, I didn't know any difference, so I thought all Christians were judgmental liars and bullies. It didn't help that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were still the most public Evangelical faces, so that made my disgust for religion grow. If God was just as self-righteous as the so-called "Christians" who treated me like dirt, I didn't want to have anything to do with Him.
And then when I was 17, some one introduced me to the real God. This God wasn't anything like the bullies. This was a God of love, mercy, and forgiveness. This was a God who was saying, "Come home, son. Everything is going to be alright." That was about nine years ago, and in those years there has been a lot of healing.
Although I can't say that the scars have completely healed. There are some people in my life right now who are trying to help me grow as a man and as a Christian. But whenever they speak, I feel like they are just judging me, like the school bullies judged me. Then I get upset and think about giving up on the whole God thing. Of course I could be just overreacting; I'm pretty prone to automatic negative thoughts, always thinking that other people are judging me when they're really not. But when you've been mistreated for so long, and people are constantly pointing out what you are doing wrong (even if they are right), you sort of automatically assume you're being judged.
Well, I know that when this life is over my scars will fully heal. But I do wish they would completely stop stinging right now.