October 23rd, 2010
06:00 AM ET

My Take: Love is the answer to bullying

Editor's Note: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s No. 1 inspirational novelist. Dubbed the Queen of Christian Fiction by Time Magazine, Karen has written more than 50 of her Life-Changing Fiction ™ titles and has nearly 20 million copies in print.

By Karen Kingsbury, Special to CNN

Can you see him?

The figure of a lonely kid straggling down the hallway, hunched over, hiding behind the bulk of his backpack. Hair in his eyes. He passes the jocks, the cool kids, and someone spots his flute case, the one tucked under his arm.

“Look at him,” one of the guys sneers. “Here comes the flute player!”

A round of cruel laughter ricochets down the hallway. “Flute player?” another guy makes a face. He jabs his friend in the shoulder. “You know what I hear? Flute players are queer.”

The lonely boy moves a little faster, willing himself to disappear. You can do this . . . just get past them . . . get to class.

“Hey wimp!” The shout comes from the biggest one. “Where you going? Lookin for another flute player?”

From the opposite direction, four pretty girls walk together. They start to giggle, stopping to bat their eyes at the big-shouldered boys. In unison they turn and scowl at the shadowy figure, the outcast. The flute player.

I see him.

I named him Michael Schwartz in my novel Unlocked that releases October 12 – in the midst of National Bullying Prevention Month. Unlocked is about autism, and the miraculous power of friendship. Michael is not a major character in my book and he would not be a major character in life.

Kids that are bullied never are. Not until they become a statistic, a headline in a newspaper, a reason to shake our heads and wonder what in the world we are doing wrong if our kids are jumping off bridges and hanging themselves and putting guns to their heads instead of facing their reality.

Michael was a nice kid. Split his time between his divorced parents’ houses, played flute for the school orchestra, did his homework, kept to himself. Kids at school knew Michael was being bullied, but they did nothing. They said nothing. Better to laugh along with the bullies than have them turn on you.

Bullying is epidemic today.

Insecure loud-mouth kids willing to get attention at the expense of someone else – someone different, an easy target. In today’s social media-centric world, bullying has advanced far beyond mocking in the hallways or being left out in the lunchroom. Today it lives in a cyber world. It’s a live-video feed on Twitter or a text message spread like a bad virus among a teen generation whose prurient interest knows no bounds.

As Michael came to life, I read case studies and watched Youtube clips on kids who didn’t make it out of their bullying nightmare. I checked out the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources page on bullying and found thoughtful messages.

Carefully crafted cartoon webisodes and tipsheets and PSA’s for kids who are victims and their often helpless parents. Lend a hand . . . take a stand. Tenets our kids would do well to adopt.

But still, very clearly, something is missing.

In a culture saturated with graphic imagery and sensory overload, and set against a political and entertainment arena that has consistently devalued life and faith, it seems our youth have reached a chilling conclusion – a mantra no public service announcement can quickly fix.

Very simply, our kids don’t care.

The answer is one you won’t find on any of the anti-bullying websites. For me the answer is love … it’s been the answer all along and it comes from the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us to love one another . . . to consider others better than ourselves. The greatest commandment, He said, is to love.

It’s trite and clichéd at this point in the discussion to cast aspersions at the church, accusing believers of being intolerant and the general cause of all meanness. Exceptions exist, but I live and work and move among people who claim faith in Christ, and I can tell you this:

For the most part, they know how to love.

They accept weaknesses and imperfections in themselves and others, and allow an overriding dose of God’s love to define them and their purpose. The command of Jesus to love one another is needed more today than ever. Love one another as I have loved you, Jesus said. And so we should.

Michael Schwartz lived only in the pages of Unlocked. He lived there and he died there because no one at his high school cared enough to love him. It’s time to live out our faith, the faith this nation was founded on.

Maybe in an era where kids are dying for lack of love, we might together revere a God who taught us this simple truth.

Love one another. For now these three remain . . . faith, hope, and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Karen Kingsbury.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Culture & Science • Opinion

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soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Judi

    I agree with Karen. Love is missing. "What the world needs now is LOVE, LOVE SWEET LOVE" and that love can only come from Jesus Christ.In her book, "Unlocked" Karen introduced us to bullying of disabled kids. In the world today, it is not just the disabled that are being bullied. It is just maybe a kid that doesn't play come sport. The one kid who is not the school "jock" or just someone who doesn't act like a group think he or she should act.

    October 25, 2010 at 12:55 am |
  2. A Solid Well-Placed Punch in the Mouth

    @ capnjammer

    Wow – I mean, Wow, Wowee, Wow. Lot's going on there.

    "The reason I, and most atheists who do so, rally against religion is because it is harmful to the entire populace."
    You're not the first secular or sacred being walking the planet that believed they had exclusivity on the truth. Guess what.. you don't. Sorry.

    "do you vote / think / believe / etc."
    You give religion too much power. Each of these issues you raise have many legal and ethical considerations and potential for socioeconomic abuse regardless of religious dogma. Aside from specific 'facts of the case(s)', many issues are already state regulated; like it or not. Nation of laws and the lat-itudes they provide, right?

    "Stop telling me I don't have the right to stand up for what I believe in."
    No one ever did.. I just think that your manner is offensive, insensitive, dismissive, and more than a bit puerile, especially for someone who supposedly has multiple degrees. Did you have this same affect when you were 'preaching?' Sorry, but you lost most of your credibility with that "lying sacks of sh1t" reference, among others. Here, read this. It may help.


    Your presentation smacks of the hormonal bluster of an AP high school junior or the uninformed pretension of more than a few beers at the campus rathskeller. In any case – good luck with that. You might want to tone it down if you want the adults to take you seriously.

    October 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
    • capnjammer

      Adults do take me seriously, unless they have something like religion that makes them completely unable to think that anything besides what they believe could be true. You can make an awful lot of noise about me, but if my arguments were that Hitler was evil or that it is wrong for g-ays to be married you'd be right on board with my "hormonal presentation." Don't fool yourself. You're the one who decided to name yourself "A Solid Well-Placed Punch in the Mouth." I'm the one saying it's wrong and abhorrent to limit other people's rights. I think this is a perfect proof that you have no idea what I'm even saying, you just want to pretend I'm an evil godless liberal because it fits in with your particular world view. Good luck with that.

      October 25, 2010 at 12:31 am |
    • Sum Dude

      @The knuckle-dragger who likes to hit people.

      You sound like a kid seeking to insult whoever disagrees with you. Big surprise there. Your name shows you to be clueless.
      Get a fucking clue and quit being such an overbearing prlck. And change that name to something intelligent. You deserve your name, but we shouldn't have to look at it all the time.

      October 25, 2010 at 1:06 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "Adults do take me seriously"

      I take you seriously. I'm an adult. I'm an atheist.

      I thought your post had a lot of good points.

      I like to goof on fundies, just for the fun of it.

      Sum Dude was exactly right about CatholicMom.

      Sum Dude was exactly right about Punch in the Mouth Dude.


      October 25, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • A Solid Well-Placed Punch in the Mouth

      @ cap, sum & dave

      You boys want some cheese with that whine? 'Sup, sum? Nice to see that you've been reduced to profanity. I'm especially touched that you took the time to spell out not one, but two cusses. You are SO very talented and special.
      Now why don't you go outside and try to run around the block... exercise can be a good thing. Silly inarticulate, tunnel-visioned libby.

      October 25, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
    • A Solid Well-Placed Punch in the Mouth

      – and if you insist on overt trolling, at least take some lessons from folks like peace2all and frogist. As much as you may or may not disagree with their views, at least they maintain a modic-um of respect and literary dignity. (I really mean that, you two – you've shown me the light, thanks.)

      You guys on the other hand can't really get too excited about being called on your behavior, now. Can you? Keep being nasty to people and sooner or later their going to figuratively spit on your shoes.. or give you .. my name. Big surprise?

      October 25, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • A Solid Well-Placed Punch in the Mouth


      Typing too quick... time for supper – 'bye now.

      October 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  3. capnjammer

    This is start-ing to an-noy me... two posts within a few days of each other ent-itled "My take: even though chris-tianity is exclusively the cause of anti-g-ay sen-tim-ent, it is the only thing that can help." C-N-N needs to let an ath-eist post in here. It would sound something like this: "You don't have to have an out-dated book of fai-ry tales that spends ap-proxi-mately 4/5ths of its ent-irety talking about kil-ling and rap-ing and hat-red and into-lerance and can-nib-alism and child mol-esta-tion and ineq-uality and rac-ism and bur-ning in h-ell tell you not to be bad to other people, because that makes you a soc-iop-ath."

    October 24, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
    • A Solid Well-Placed Punch in the Mouth

      Jesus Christ on a Bike... It's an Extremist Atheist! In case you missed it, probably 4/5ths of the posts in the "Belief Blogs" ARE atheists.. There could be a different proportion of contributors, but you all seem to scare the poor believers away.
      And that's sort of a problem.. isn't it? But "Topic Control by Intimidation" usually is.

      Poor "misunderstood muslims".. poor "marginalized atheists"... poor, poor *you*. It's always all about you.


      October 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      This is 'Belief Blog'...if you don't 'believe' why blog [here]?

      October 24, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      I can't believe you actually brought out that old saw...!

      check out some tips on how to get past the filter at......


      October 24, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • capnjammer

      @Punch: It's not about me. It's about these lying sacks of sh1t saying "Hey, we can solve the bullying problem even though we're the major contributor to it." Am I not allowed to post my own thoughts on a matter without being attacked? Do I not have the right to speak my mind? If I don't, neither do you. Get out. You deserve a good solid punch in the mouth, blogwh0re. All you want to do is talk about what you think is wrong or right. You poor, poor Christian, wanting the right to say what you want to say without people silencing you. *sniff* Maybe if you'd give other people that courtesy they'd give it to you.

      And, by the way, I think it's great that so many atheists are stepping up to the plate, not feeling like they can't speak out because virtually everyone in the world fears and despises them. Hmmm, I remember saying that when I was a Christian, but now I realize I was an idiot, since Christians make up 1/3 of the entire world and when they say people persecute them it's really only people exercising their right to criticize their intolerance and hatred and bigotry.

      Oh, and @Catholicmom, I have three very good reasons.

      1) I don't think so, but Christians like telling me that belief in no God is still belief. So, by your own people's argument, I should be here.

      2) Because it's my right to post openly in such a forum and exercise my right to free speech.

      3) Because I hold several degrees in theology and once was a pastor. I believe I fit into the "Belief" community. So, stop trying to tell people they don't have the right to speak, as your people are known to do.

      October 24, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
    • A Solid Well-Placed Punch in the Mouth


      "Because I hold several degrees in theology and once was a pastor."

      Disillusion has converted you into a cynic. Typically cynics do overcompensate, but your disgruntled and mean spirited polarization is.. distasteful. It would be more 'becoming' for you to acknowledge the needs of those who do find some solace in religion rather than insensitively bashing them.

      And exactly why do atheists have this compelling need to proselytize against organized religion? Isn't it substantial enough to know that you're right and everyone else is wrong? If I were you I'd be happy with that and stop trying to 'convert' all the 'non-believers'. Pot meet Kettle. And yeah, I chose a career poorly too. But I got over it. You just have to forgive yourself, and stop making everyone else pay for your error.

      (I like it!)

      October 24, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      You were the one who said, 'This is start-ing to an-noy me... '
      I just thought 'why blog if it gets you annoyed'...seems you like it that way though...so you can be angry at Christians. I wonder what annoyed you about being a pastor....you left that behind but you persist on these blogs no matter how annoyed you get here....like you say, you have your rights to blog, too....you certainly can stay annoyed if you want to...

      October 24, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • capnjammer

      I absolutely LOVE how the common argument is that I'm hateful and spiteful and must have had a bad experience in Christianity. You people are so lovely.

      I don't care how much it helps people get over their fear of death, it takes people out of reality. More good could be done in the world if people would stop worrying about God and would start worrying about each other. It may do them good, but isn't that kind of selfish? I'm more interested in what does everybody good. The reason I, and most atheists who do so, rally against religion is because it is harmful to the entire populace. You may not tell everyone you meet that they are going to burn in hell because they are different from you, but do you vote against g-ay marriage? Do you think a little girl who got pregnant by a rap-ist should have to carry the baby full term? Do you think adults who die can donate their organs to the Red Cross but babies who die shouldn't have had some reason to exist and promote stem cell research? Do you vote for someone just because he prays and reads his Bible regardless of how well you think he will do in office? Do you believe that people who claim to be part of a religion you think is bad shouldn't have the right to meet? Then you are part of a problem which is causing people to have their freedoms and equality taken away every day in the United States. Martin Luther King himself said that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America.

      And Catholicmom, I have a right to be annoyed that people who hate g-ays and do everything they can to have their freedoms taken away get to post every other day on CNN about how it isn't their fault and their religion is the answer. Do you not think so? Of course not, you're Catholic...

      Stop telling me I don't have the right to stand up for what I believe in. It's especially upsetting that I stand for freedom, equality, and tolerance, but just because I don't agree with religion I'm hateful and spiteful and intolerant. That's like saying just because I don't think Mussolini was a good guy that I must be Hitler. Religion has held back scientific, medical, and societal advancement for thousands of years. It's time to put your selfish desire for imagined happiness aside and let the human race grow for a change.

      October 24, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • CatholicMom


      ….it is your first thought here…death…is it YOUR fear?

      Worrying does no good….who worries about God?

      Do you worry about burning in hell…did someone say something about it to you? It wasn’t me…I am not the one who judges souls….. our Father in Heaven will decide who produced good fruit, bad fruit, or no fruit….once we pass into our eternal life.

      Yes, I am against gay marriage. Being gay is not sinful but man laying with man is and so is woman laying with woman; so is man and woman laying together if not married to each other. S3x is only for a married man and woman.

      Abortion is evil no matter how you look at it. There are very few reasons that would allow for the taking of another human being’s life….and then to say that one ought to take stem cells from the one murdered is beyond human….talk about selfish…!!! Kill the baby so you can have its stem cells…did you really say that? So that you could then say the baby had a purposeful life? I am stunned that a former pastor has this kind of thinking….You stand for freedom, equality, and tolerance, you say,…. but not for babies.

      I believe that someone who believes in God would make better choices in office for me and my country; so all persons of various beliefs can enjoy life…provided all are allowed to be born first!

      Yes, I am Catholic and I do not hate gays. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0sILSapUUc

      October 25, 2010 at 12:09 am |
    • Sum Dude

      You fed the trolls. "Toxic Grandma" CatholicMom loves to attack by making it seem as though you are sick, suffering, etc. no matter what you have said, and then refuses to respond if you make too good of a point.

      That knuckle-dragger who thinks people need punching is like a beer-drinking "Christian" who can't figure out anything that has not been told to him by Rush, Beck, or anyone else on AM talk-radio. We get those all the time in here.

      Welcome to the CNN Belief Blog.

      October 25, 2010 at 1:17 am |
  4. Rose

    I don't like bullying at anyones expense. It is disgusting and hateful. I am the first person to intervene when I see someone being bullied by another.
    I think these schools need to have a "security plan in effect for this. I also think more schools should do a big brother, big sister program. Everyone would have a person to kind of be thier friend and help when circ=u=mstances arise that could be bad. I think we should notify our school officials and our congressman, to push for "seurity plan" where fighting and bullying are concerned. Write your congressman or call them.


    I am a Christian too, and try to spread love when I can. However, I do understand what some are saying about having to stand up for yourself. Its hard when a kid is small, and another bigger kid comes at him. Sometimes, these types hang in little (or big) groups of aggressors. , and it is frightening to the victim to know what to do. Thats why I like the security plan listed above.
    If one is able to stand up for himself, he should. Sad part is, there are those out there that the only thing they do understand is a punch in the mouth.
    When your in the midst of percieved danger, and no one is around to help you, you may have to fight to survive. I would always encourage peace, or trying to talk your way out of a situation, but that don't always work, unfortunately.

    October 24, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • CatholicMom


      I understand what you are saying…I never had anyone as a ‘big sister or big brother’ watching out for me…my oldest sister was picked on because she was so timid, my younger brother was picked on because he was gay [though he didn’t tell us until many years later] and all my younger sisters and brothers only had us older ones to ‘keep an eye’ on them.

      Every night after school we had to wait for the last bus to return to the school building to take about 18 more kids out on the last route. We could hear the bus coming, a long way off, and the little first graders and others on up to my age [15] would begin lining up so we could hop on the bus and get home.

      There was a boy about 13 or 14 years old, big for his age, who would wait until the little kids were in a line and just before the bus came into view, he would go up to the one at the head of the line and knock him out of line and take his place. Sometimes he would choose a place not in first place…

      After witnessing this too many times and the bully was getting really mean, hitting hard and making little ones fall and cry, I decided that if he did it one more time I was going to step in…he did…so I did…holding true to my decision, with my heart pounding with the uncertainty of the outcome of confronting him…

      I went up to the bully and asked, ‘ Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?’… he said, ‘Why don’t you make me?’ When my fist hit his nose, blood shot out everywhere and he fell to the ground …he was half crying and half threatening me with… ‘You’re going to be sorry!’ I felt terror inside, not of him but of consequences of my actions, but allowed all the little kids to board the bus and then finally the bully, holding his nose climbed on, too, with blood all over his shirt; before I boarded I happened to look up and saw the Superintendent looking out of his window. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep that night knowing that tomorrow I would have to face the Superintendent because it was my day to have ‘Office Practice’…learning how to be a ‘Secretary’…in HIS office!

      The next day came and my heart was still pounding up in my throat as I climbed the stairs to the Office. But I NEVER heard a word from anyone about the incident! I was greeted with a very happy Superintendent who seemed so pleased with my ‘office progress’ that I couldn’t help but believed it was his way of saying he approved of what I had done out in the parking lot the day before.

      I probably would have been in hot water with parents or school officials however if there had been any complaints brought against me. Oh, by the way, the bully was a decent kid the rest of the year [while waiting for the bus anyway!]

      I know why it may be hard for people to step up when they see an awful thing happening to someone else…but after that experience I was never too afraid to step in and do my part; I wasn’t afraid to befriend the girl in school who wore a bright pink sock with a white one on the other foot and she made funny nostril noises at times and many made fun of her…no one ever walked with her and I would call out to her, ‘Wait for me’ and she would. Funny thing, my friends were still friends with me anyway even though they would not accept her into ‘the’ group. I went to a movie with someone no one would date because he was not attractive but very nice and polite always …friends were surprised that I said, ‘Yes, I would go to a movie with him’ but my friends never abandoned me for doing it. They thought he was nice but ‘was not someone ever to date!’ I was happy he never asked again [I admit, I just wasn’t attracted to him] but we remained friends. He eventually became a minister! His mother told me many years later after we were all adults and he had moved out of state…that it really helped her son with his self esteem that time I went to a movie with him back in high school.

      So today I know bullying is a major problem and I think it is even worse than back in my youthful days…it seems, like Peace2all asks, is all this talk about being ‘like Jesus’ really working in our society? What is going on in families…that children have little foundation on how to treat others? Is it a form of ‘I am the only one that matters?’

      I don’t think it is a tolerance issue… You hear… ‘What did YOU do to provoke the bully?’ “Was your skirt too flirty?” ‘Were YOU in his way?’

      One time riding on a bus, a greasy faced man was trying to push his way into a seat right behind me, and the young girl said with a scared and shaky voice, “No, my friend is boarding and this is her seat’…he persisted, saying he wanted THAT seat and that he could have it, and started pushing his way in…the bus was full of men and women but there were plenty of seats in the back…I was getting disgusted that no one stepped up to tell the man there were plenty of seats or that he could return to the one he was in before the stop…so I finally stood up, turned around and shouted out loud, ‘Can’t you hear, she said, ‘No’!’ He backed off and went back to his seat. It was so quiet on that bus and I got to thinking, that man could have easily pull out a gun and shot a bunch of us….

      I have seen a young person bump into and old person walking with a cane, and the young person pleads for mercy and forgiveness, and the old one with a hardened heart hollers, ‘Watch where you are going!’ and it was clearly the wavering old person who caused the bump.

      Do you think some of this behavior of bullying and disregard for others stems from our societal idea that life isn’t worth living unless it is your own?

      October 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  5. Angie

    I am finished reading Unlocked, and am inspired to help stop the bullying in our school. I am our high school special education teacher and find that most of the bullying done in my situation is done to themselves. My students with special needs are constantly saying, "I'm dumb. I'm stupid!" I have been inspired to not only try to stop kid to kid bullying, but kid to self. Thanks Karen!

    October 24, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  6. Angela

    Thank you Karen and all those trying to show love. Some of you think that just because we love god we think everything is perfect. I know this is not true and still experience Life's crisis from illness to deaths and I still get sad but knowing God loves me and is there for me is what helps me keep going. My mom was a true believer who never in her life pushed religion and honestly did not talk about it much but everyone new she was a child of God as she was always there for anyone and set the example by the way she lived her life daily. My son is 12 he is what many would call a younger 12 because he has not let society make him grow up to fast, he still loves his cartoons, stuffed animals and hanging out with mom and dad. He has experienced bullying at school but knows God and that he loves and forgives all that ask. He does not hold ill feelings for the chilldren who bully him. At times he is sad about it but most often he is sad for them and will say mom they really didn't mean it and will do all he can to friend them. A true as some would say Real Christian does not push religion but demonstrates it by their actions and is there for the person who wants to hear about it. Amen Karen and thank you for all your insight you have shared, I have learned many lessons from your books and how to try and set the example. I am not perfect no one is matter of fact I am far from it, but I ask for forgiveness and keep trying to show love.

    October 24, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  7. Miette

    @TheRationale...GOD'S LOVE is the answer...NOT what this world calls love (and what you obviously referring too). I am sorry that you have had such a bad experience with love that you would condemn all of the genuine love that has been shown here as having come from "naive & pampered fools".

    @SOTBchurch...people who spew hatred at gays and lesbian are not true followers of God. If they were they would have the heart of God which is a heart of LOVE for the down-trodden.

    October 24, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  8. God's Gift

    Many years ago my family moved to a new city and state. The first day of school I dropped a book that landed on a young man's foot, as I bent over to pick it up, he said "Aww look it's Dino the dog" several other boys followed in the bullying. Everyday for that entire year I was followed around with barking noises, heckling and calling me dog, Dino, where's your bone, etc.

    I hated going to school and my grades reflected this conflict, I became shy and misunderstood over my actions of not talking to anyone. One day the following year a teacher heard these boys and sent then away, but the damage had been embedded into my deep into my soul.

    This teacher made it his mission to encourage me, protect me and try to rebuild what had been destroyed, years later I learned this wonderful teacher was a Christian man who not only showed God's Love, he lived it and prayed for me everyday.

    I now have four grown children and seven grandchildren who we strive to show God's love and have taught them that people who bully others are missing something in their lives, so they make it their mission to try and tear down other people, the best way to stop their bullying is to first pray for them, second is to smile and tell them God loves them and third allow God's love to always shine through you. You never know who's life it will change.

    October 24, 2010 at 6:25 am |
  9. SOTBchurch

    Agree : Love is the answer to bullying
    If those gullible christians have hearts, they should be able to LOVE everyones including gay and lebian. But they are the ones who spread hatred. They have blood of those poor gay kids on their BLOODY hands. Shame on christians!

    October 24, 2010 at 6:21 am |
  10. Amalia

    Cool advertisement, bro.

    October 24, 2010 at 4:08 am |
  11. TheRationale

    I am just amazed at how many incredibly naive and pampered fools are posting here. "Love" is the answer? Ah yes, doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The problem is finally solved, let's all hold hands and wear little hats and sing songs. Give me a break. What are you, five years old?

    If there aren't other people around to stick up for you, you have to stick up for yourself.

    October 24, 2010 at 12:49 am |
  12. Vicki

    "Unlocked" is a wonderful book, as are all of Karen's books. While the books are fiction, the lessons learned from them are not. God is using her gift of storytelling to help spread his message of love, forgiveness and redemption. Keep it up Karen!

    October 23, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  13. DoggieMom

    I am working my way carefully through Karen Kingsbury's book "Unlocked". It's a special book to savor, but also to really think about the situations, and how would I feel if I were in that predicament?

    I, too, was bullied through my entire childhood, and had a very hard time moving past the emotional damage that was dumped on me daily through elementary, middle and high school.
    Sadly, the worst abuser was the German teacher, and the students he would praise for following his lead in picking on the smallest, poorest students in his classes.

    Once I married as a young nurse, God gave me a very Godly man as a husband, and he has helped me deal with my feelings of inadequacy and has coached me and works at building me up to know I can be successful in every venture in my life. My husband has truly been "hand chosen" from God to help me over come the many issues I had as a child.

    8 years ago, we adopted two teenage girls from foster care (we also have 3 biological children), and the bullying began again, but more like warfare inside our previously peaceful home.
    These two girls were very good at hurting people, which to me was just a symptom of the pain they felt from being rejected by many, many family members.
    They have both struggled with bullying other kids, and I eventually home schooled them, to keep them out of the atmosphere that tempted them to hurt others. They've told huge lies to hurt people, and they've both stolen many things from the people that love them the most.
    My husband and I feel like it is our role to teach them what "unconditional love" is, and how it looks in living it out.
    We still do all we can to help these girls, but we've had to stop sending money (both are now in college).
    Recently, many of their college friends have contacted us, and revealed that the bullying behavior has escalated again.
    We pray for them, that God will show them how hurtful their actions are to so many people, but right now, I'm considering sending each daughter a copy of the book "Unlocked", and then just pray that God will reach through their hardened hearts and touch them to want to help those with less....less money, personality, friends, whatever.
    God can use each one of us in this world, no matter what our gifts and talents.

    Karen Kingsbury has done an excellent job at making her characters real, and I've really connected with them as if they are real people, with the same feelings and stresses that I have experienced.

    As far as Christians, there are people who live with a full understanding of God's unconditional love, and they are able to share that love with others, and without showing any judgement.
    THEN, there are people who are "proud" to be a Christian, and they act like the part of their life that is "Christian", is something to compare with others, when in fact, God tells us to only compare our growth to ourselves...have we improved in areas we struggle?
    For these that are settling for man's definition of Christianity, there is no room for love, or acceptance of those who are different.
    It's very sad to see people using Christianity as a means to show hatred and discrimination towards others.
    Only God is qualified to judge any one of us, and we are only responsible for making sure we ourselves are walking in God's way, and following God's rules for our lives as each step is revealed to us.
    Just like you wouldn't expect someone new in a job to be an expert in every area, as Christians, no one has it all figured out right from the beginning!

    It takes time...years to let God show us areas to work on in our lives, and to only work on our own problems, not point fingers towards others and diverting attention from our problems toward another person's issues. This comes back to bullying!! I've seen "Christians" from one church in town bashing "Christians" from a different church, mocking them, and making fun of "the way they do things in their church"!! As long as the church is following the Bible, it's not up to any human to judge another for percieved sin. In God's eyes, Sin is Sin.....the sin of Pride is just as wrong as the sin of adultery, or even the sing of judgement!! However, our sin is only between God and me, not anyone else wanting to pick on me!!

    The only way we can truly grow as a Christian, is to stay connected to God, by reading the Bible, praying daily, and teaching our children constantly about how we are told to live according to the Bible.
    Anything else is man-made religion, and will be a turn-off to anyone!!
    I do have to say that I've read many of Karen Kingsbury's novels in the past 10 years, and she does a very good job of researching her facts for the story line, and using real stories woven into her novel to honor people who have fought the same issues, and ended up with positive results.
    Karen has also adopted children from another country, and she spends a lot of time with her family, as a true "hands on" mother, which helps me as a mentor in my struggles with our children. I can only have Thanks for Karen and her books, They've helped every member of my family, and I thank her for that.

    October 23, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
  14. Bettye Moore

    I have read all your books except Unlocked, and I'm ready to start it. I have always preordered your books so I get them as soon as they come out. Thank you for your wonderful Christian books that teach a lesson, as well as provide good reading.
    God is love, but Christians are human and not perfect, and as we try to love as Christ loved, we fall way short. The key is to keep trying to love like Christ, and we will get better day by day.

    October 23, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
  15. Brenda Wilson

    I have just finished reading :Unlocked" and found it to me one of the best I have read on Bullying. Kids nor Adults realize how much words can hurt. And when the other person is already feeling so low, the words said may be what sends them over the edge. I wish there were more Ellas in the world that would take a stand. But even we as adults don't take the stand we need to. I pray that I will always be ready to help and be the example that God wants me to be.
    Karen, of all your books, I do believe that I cried more reading this one and it is so down to earth! I love all your books!

    October 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
  16. Donna Studebaker

    I was one of the kids that was make fun of in school and I know how bad it feel's... I also have a son that was always made fun of in school and I even had to take him to and from school because he wouldn't ride the bus... the teachers didn't do anything to stop it either... as for me as a adult I still get the looks and I hear people talk and I hear them because I am a big person, I know God loves my son and I like we are and that is what I keep saying to my son also... I haven't read "Unlocked " as of yet but I know it will be good because I haven't read anything Karen Kingsbury has wrote that wasn't good,...as Gods people lets all do what we can to stop bulling in any way we can...

    October 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
  17. Michelle

    We love because He first loved us! 1 John 4:19
    As a parent and a teacher, I feel like we have to go back to the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We are missing the mark as parents when we don't teach our children to put others before themselves. I see more and more self absorbed students than ever before. School and home should not be about what makes us feel good or what we want to do, but it should be about what is right and what pleases God. When we start being considerate of others and displaying the REAL love of Christ, then I believe these issues will be better.

    October 23, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  18. Deanna

    I am anxiously waitin to read "Unlocked". I was "made fun of" all during my school years for being tall and on the heavier side. It hur and to this day I am sensitive about it all. But I have learned that God loves me for who I am in Him and not what other people think. We have told our children they r NEVER to make fun of another person. I like the quote, "I know I am somebody, cause God don't make no junk".....makes me sad to hear children make fun of others...where did they learn it?

    October 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  19. LISA


    October 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  20. Michele

    God has made everyone perfect. Thank you Karen!!!

    October 23, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.