Last month’s Love Your Body Monday was on the topic of “Why Are We Still So Angry?” One way anger expresses itself is through bullying—and whether you’re the person doing the bullying or on the receiving end, it’s not healthy!
Whoever sows sin reaps weeds, and bullying anger sputters into nothing. Pr. 22:8 MSG
Bullying has always been a serious problem with school kids. We’ve seen tragedies of children committing crimes of violence, assault—even murder—and children bullied to the brink of suicide.
Adults shake their heads in dismay wondering the source of these children’s anger. Why do they feel such little concern for the feelings, dignity, or honor of others? What has happened to regard for human life? There seems to be no limits to vengefulness, humiliation, meanness, degradation, hurt, spite, revenge, or harm. Often no purpose or reason for the bullying . . . “Just for the fun of it.” “Just because.” “Something to do.” On a dare. Bored. See if they could get away with it.
With the rise of electronics and cell phones in every child’s hand and computers at home, it’s become easier and easier to use words and pictures as weapons with no boundaries, safe-guards, rules, or supervision to stop bullies from torturing other children in cyber space, if not face to face. Bullying no longer has to leave visible physical bruises, black eyes, and broken bones—the damage is now inflicted internally with words, images, and crushing spirits.
If you’re the parent of the bully, you wonder what you’ve done wrong. If your child is bullied, your heart breaks, because nothing will ever erase the words they’ve heard, the names they’ve been called, the pictures viewed, the social torture they’ve endured that will haunt them for life.
Here is a definition of bullying:
There is no universal definition of bullying, however, it is widely agreed upon that bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by the following three minimum criteria: (1) hostile intent, (2) imbalance of power, and (3) repetition over a period of time. Bullying may thus be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally or emotionally.
The Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus says bullying occurs when a person is “exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons”. He says negative actions occur “when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways.” Individual bullying is usually characterized by a person behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.[
The spike in school bullying is not surprising. Instead of adults setting a role model to guide the younger generation to treat others by the “Golden Rule,” bullying has become accepted communication. Who would have ever imagined the things we hear on television, the media, and read in the news today? I just saw the term “Bullying Fake News!” No boundaries, nothing off limits. No rules. No guidelines, nothing sacred—no concern for feelings, unprofessionalism, unkindness, rudeness, ungentlemanly or unlady-like behavior, disrespect, fowl language, crudeness.
Pretentious with arrogance,
they wear the latest fashions in violence,
Pampered and overfed,
decked out in silk bows of silliness.
They jeer, using words to kill;
they bully their way with words.
They’re full of hot air,
loudmouths disturbing the peace.
People actually listen to them—can you believe it?
Like thirsty puppies, they lap up their words. Psalm 73:6-10 MSG
Here are just a few public examples of bullying:
Recently, extreme bullying was acceptable when a rapper made a video replicating assassinating the President and another rapper followed with a lewd verbal and tweeting attack on the First Lady, with no repercussions! Not even a reprimand, except for those who objected on social media and Fox News. Others encouraged them, just like thousands who watch Saturday Night Live as they bully and mock the Commander and Chief, his administration, and family, and call it “humor,” while talk show hosts make a living bullying them and others.
Crude, lude, degrading remarks and skits about others is sick, satirical, critical, hurtful, and demeaning and reflects the darkness in the heart of those who create and consider this humor and funny. A window into the unhealthy culture our young people are exposed to and why they are so easily prone to bullying.
Respect isn’t a word commonly used today or displayed for our National Anthem, our flag, our military, our President, Our Father . . . or each other!
Jesus Was Bullied—the Bible called it Persecution
So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.—John 5:16
Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. John 15:20
Stay Healthy—Bless the Bullies!
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 5:10
If you take a stand for the Lord in today’s godless culture, you’re going to endure persecution and bullying: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12. I encounter bullying almost daily. At first, I took it personally and felt like arrows hitting my heart. They didn’t know me. How could they call me those vile names—the election season was vicious. If they knew I was a Christian, the name calling, was worse. So I had to make a healthy choice. Determine this would not affect me emotionally, spiritually, or physically. Nor would I back down from standing strong for Jesus and the call I feel He has put on my heart, my ministry, and my writing.
I had to figure out how not to receive the bullying and not dish it back: “Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder, always spoiling for a fight. Don’t try to be like those who shoulder their way through life. Why be a bully? “Why not?” you say. Because God can’t stand twisted souls. It’s the straightforward who get his respect.” Pr. 3:30-32 MSG
You’ve probably experienced the same and asking: But what if it’s a friend? A family member? A loved one? People today feel justified saying whatever they want, calling you names, or ridiculing your beliefs. You feel your blood pressure rising, your stomach churning, your sadness quotient moving towards depression or retaliation.
This isn’t the neighborhood bully mocking me—I could take that. This isn’t a foreign devil spitting invective—I could tune that out. It’s you! We grew up together! You! My best friend! Those long hours of leisure as we walked arm in arm, God a third party to our conversation. Ps. 55:12-14 MSG
My granddaughter and I were talking about how to respond when someone says or does something that makes her angry. Maybe a friend, her siblings, a kid at school. I was helping her understand that when she responds the same way, her behavior isn’t any better than the one treating her badly. They’re both in the wrong. She looked at me with eyes that said, so what should I do? I said the way to surprise the person bullying her, or to catch them off guard, was to say, “Well, bless you!”
The shocked expression on my granddaughter’s face was priceless, before she burst out laughing! Then we practiced Romans 12:14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:35-39
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