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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

February 27, 2015

Mobbing prohibited

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

When I visited my grandchildren's grade school in Texas a few months ago to eat lunch with them, I noticed several posters on the wall of the long hallway leading to the lunchroom. They all had the same wording: "Mobbing is a foreign language in this school."

So in our modern society mobbing doesn't exist only in the workplace environment, but also as early as in grade school.

Mobbing has been described as "psychological warfare" at work with the goal of forcing someone out of the workplace. Mobbing involves repeated mental and emotional abuse, and it occurs not only at work, but also in school, on athletic teams, in senior citizens residences, on the internet ("cyber-mobbing") and even in families. Among the usual mobbing tactics are the spread of disinformation, social isolation and constant criticism of someone's work or performance.

The person being mobbed is supposed to feel unneeded or useless.

Can the potential for mobbing exist within the church? You be the judge. Many years ago I heard a member of the church say about other members in his local congregation: "God has called them, so I have to accept that I cannot make them uncalled." The person was referring to people of a different heritage whom this person did not particularly like.

We are not in grade school like my grandchildren, but God's opinion on mobbing in the church has been clearly "posted" in the church. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul was inspired by the holy spirit to compare the church with the human body. The functioning of the body is made possible by the contribution made by each of its members. And God determines what each member's place is in the body: "Now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased" (verse 18).

Since all members are necessary for the full functionality of the body, no member is to be given the impression that it isn't needed: "The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you" (verse 21). Not feeling needed or belonging is the intent of modern mobbing. So nearly 2000 years Paul said in essence: "Mobbing is a foreign language in the church."

Soon we will be observing the Passover and remembering the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Prior to the Passover we have the opportunity to examine ourselves and ask the question: What is my attitude toward others in the congregation, those I see on the Sabbath or interact with in service to the church?

God has placed the members in the body "that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another" (verse 25). With this attitude "mobbing" will indeed be a foreign language in our church.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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