I have not had the heart or stomach to watch the viral video of Karen Klein, who achieved infamy at the hands of the proverbial children left to themselves (cf. Prov. 29:15) who hopefully brought shame to their mothers. But, I saw snippets of her being poked and prodded, and I have read that she was called fat, ugly, a troll, and much worse by the middle school students she was assigned to monitor on a Greece, New York, school bus. She was treated cruelly and unfair, shown disrespect by children who without reformation of character appear destined for the penal system and eternal punishment. It was truly heartbreaking, and no doubt a day that will live with Klein for the rest of her life. But, she never raised her voice or left her seat choosing instead to remain calm. She did shed tears.
Out of this social embarrassment, however, has come something very positive. Various online groups have raised over $140,000 to send Karen on “a vacation of a lifetime.” In addition, she has received encouraging and sympathetic emails, letters, and Facebook messages from people across the nation (information gleaned from Stephanie Hanes, Christian Science Monitor, 6/21/12).
Most of us will not have our problems and mistreatments captured on a YouTube video. Neither will the kindnesses and good deeds of others toward us be similarly immortalized. Yet, all of us will be hurt and helped by others. We will know suffering and strength. Upon what will we choose to focus? The good or the grime?
Karen Klein is my newfound hero because of how she handled her “banes” and how she focused on her “blessings.” There is no indication she is a Christian, but she lives out what Peter tells Christians to do. Concerning mistreatment by cruel masters, Peter tell slaves, “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God” (1 Pet. 2:19-20). Jesus, whom Peter holds up as an example (1 Pet. 2:21), says, “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Mat. 5:39). You will be assaulted, at least verbally, by people of the character of these sadistic adolescents. Don’t let it embitter you. Instead, choose the high road and see the good in life.