About a week or so ago, I read about two young people who committed suicide within the last week. One of those young adults was a local man. Each of them left public messages as to why they were choosing this route. Their stories have haunted me since. These kids were lonely, depressed, and bullied.
Did they take the easy way out? The truth is that yes, they did. But take a deeper look…neither of these young people seemed to know the grace, love, and peace of a personal relationship with Jesus. They also obviously needed help to get through their problems and learn how to deal with what was happening around and to them. But putting that aside, there are some lessons to be learned from their stories.
1. What you put out to the world, especially over the internet, can never be taken back. The young lady I learned about was so desperate for attention and love that she chose to do something for someone via the internet that came back to bite her. She was vulnerable and lonely and didn’t think about the consequences. Did that make what others did and said after the fact right? No, not by any stretch of the imagination. But this is a good example that we have to be careful what we put out there. Please be careful. It can not only hurt you personally, but it can hurt you professionally. Did you know that more and more employers are checking social media on their potential and current employees? Be careful what you put on the internet.
2. People mess up…we’re human. Messing up, even a huge mistake, does not give others the right to treat that person as if their lives don’t matter anymore. I saw so many people comment on these posts saying things like, “I wish she would just die.” “You don’t deserve to live”, etc. We may not like what someone has done, but being rude, mean, hateful, ugly, etc. is just plain wrong.
3. There really are cyberbullies in this world and the number continues to increase. Cyberbullying is so popular because you can be anonymous, no one has to know who it really is. But regardless of what you believe, people’s words have a huge impact on others’ lives. The only saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” should actually say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will break my heart”.
I really hope that we will all take a look at what is going on around us, what we do or say to others, what is happening to people we need, and take a lesson from these two young people. I know I will.