Bullying: A Christian Response.
by Nick Bishop
We have all experienced bullying of one sort or another, whether as the victim or the bully.
Bullying is no respecter of age and it doesn’t just take place in school. It can occur at home, between families, in the workplace, between couples, etc. Now with the power of the internet and social media, we see cyberbullying taking place on an alarmingly frequent basis.
Bullying occurs for many reasons, but whatever those reasons are, they give little comfort to the victim. Jealousy, insecurity, dominance, showing off, etc are just some of the reasons why individuals or groups bully. Bullies can also be victims of abuse/bullying, and so they choose to take it out on someone that they perceive as weaker than themselves, so to gain self-esteem.
Some bullies, for example, do not realise that their behaviour towards others can be seen as threatening. No doubt, if some of them realised that their behaviour was coming over as threatening, they might be horrified and hopefully, rectify the problem.
Bullying is not a crime per se, however, extreme intimidation is a crime, under the ‘Criminal Offence and Harassment Act 1997’.
Victims of bullying cut across all sections and no one is immune from it. Bullying, whether you are the victim or the observer of such abuse, should never be tolerated.
Help is available whether it be in your workplace, place of learning, home or in a relationship. Speak to your pastor, a counsellor or social worker, friends, or even the police to help.
God is a god of justice, and is, on the side of those suffering intimidation, harassment and oppression. As Christians therefore, we must confront bullying in all its forms, for the sake of the victim and yes, even the bully.
Bullying can be disruptive to a person’s dignity, property and peace. We must recognise it and tackle the problem, in love.
Hurt feelings and difficult conversations, cannot and must not be avoided. Taking a stand on this issue reflects the justice and compassion of our creator.
How To Respond.
Responding in a physical, worldly manner may seem to be the easiest way, however, one must avoid this and be proactive through God.
Bullies can make a person defensive and reactive, however, bringing a bully to repentance is key.
Revenge Is Not The Way.
Forgiving the bully does not, and will never, excuse the behaviour of the bully. Neither is forgiveness an excuse for the bully to just carry on with their intimidation.
It is important as has been said, one remains free from vengeance and bitterness. The Lord, in his own time, will take care of the bullying, no matter how big or small.
Our God, let us remember, is a God of justice for the oppressed, the weak and the lonely. Those who perpetrate indignities against his people will know of God’s actions, sooner or later.
Taking Action Against Bullies
Bullies whether they be from history or in the present (in whatever setting), are emboldened when they are appeased or bought off. It can also be the case bullies will carry on doing what they do unless there is a positive and firm intervention.
For example, King Hezekiah was afraid of the Assyrians, when they threatened his kingdom of Judah, so Hezekiah tried to buy them off with gold.
This worked for a while, but in the end, King Hezekiah could no longer stand the intimidation of his Assyrian tormentors. Falling to his knees, in sheer desperation, Hezekiah begged God to help him. The Lord heard his cries and delivered him and his people from the enemy.
It is sometimes said that God allows bullies into our lives so we will turn to him.
Seek Advice On Bullies
If you are the victim of bullying or know of someone who is being bullied, seek advice from individuals or organisations who know how to deal with this behaviour.
As discussed bullying can happen anywhere and at any time. Though there are different strategies of dealing with bullying, we must seek the Lord for guidance. Keeping a Christ-like attitude will remind us this bully is a lost soul who also needs help.
Pray For The Bully
However or whatever strategy is used in confronting bullying, we must remember to pray for the victim of the bullying and indeed the bully.
Remember God is a God of transformation, and even the vilest of offenders can be changed by God’s love.
What does scripture have to say about this blight on our society:
Deuteronomy 31:6 “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 never leave or forsake you”.
Psalm 82 “Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked”.
Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends, live peaceably with all”.
God bless you xxx.
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