Summary: Harassment, it is said, often leads to loss of dignity and self-worth and is often considered a criminal offence.
Erik Pevernagie, the Belgian painter and writer once remarked: “When a storm of harassment disturbs our thinking and brings us down to our knees, the umbrella of our imagination can shield us against destructive aggression. It is offering shelter and is teaching us how to conquer ourselves, train our resilience, and grit our teeth. We better learn to adopt the virtue of endurance, as life consists of both ‘passion’ and ‘patience.’” Matthew 5:43-48 states: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Harassment, it is said, often leads to loss of dignity and self-worth and is often considered a criminal offence. It can occur as a direct result of race, gender, religion, disability and sexual orientation to name but a few. It is defined as: Unwanted behaviour which one finds offensive or which makes one feel intimidated or humiliated. It can happen on its own or alongside other forms of discrimination. It can be oral or written words or even physical abuse. Matthew 27:27-31 reminds us: “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.”
Harassment can take many forms and often includes bullying tactics. It may be delivered as verbal abuse or intimidation. It covers many different types of behaviour which are usually considered offensive. It may be debt-related, originating from pursuit by overzealous creditors. Deuteronomy 31:6 reminds us: "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
There was once a couple who dreamed of purchasing a second home for holidays in the south of Spain. A foreign construction consortia were advertising a two day trip to a small but select development in a designated area of natural beauty which included a guided visit to a show villa for prospective buyers to view. The cost of the package was £300 per person which included flights and one night in a luxury hotel situated near the complex. The starting prices for a detached two bedroomed villa was £190,000.
Although the couple hadn’t finally decided if they wished to purchase a villa, the details and location of the complex appeared attractive and so they decided to utilize the offer so that they would be in a better position to decide if they wished to proceed. The necessary arrangements were made and they travelled to their chosen destination. When they arrived, they were met at the airport by a charming sales representative, who spoke good English, and took them in his private car to the property to show them around. The building area was largely barren except for the show villa.
They were then shown around the dwelling which appealed to them greatly. They were informed that it would take approximately one further year for the development to be built and on completion it would include several swimming pools, a choice of restaurants and bars and a clubhouse which would hold nightly shows, thereby avoiding the need to actually leave the complex for food and entertainment purposes in the evenings.
If they were prepared to pay a specially reduced holding deposit of £15,000, a villa would be reserved for them on their chosen plot. They made a second visit to the site the next day, prior to their flight home, but encountered considerable pressure applied jointly by three salesmen, after they had expressed certain doubts. The intention was to force them to proceed with the transaction, as it was stated that this was a once in a lifetime golden opportunity which they would be foolish to miss.
They eventually agreed to make the required deposit on the understanding that they had a two-week cooling-off period and would receive a full refund if they changed their mind. This was agreed and the transaction was effected using three different credit cards for peace of mind and financial protection.