Biblical Counseling For Today’s Christian Family
by Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min., M.Th.
Part 2 of 2
Bullying has everyone worried and a remedy must be sought to stop the violent behavior of bullying.
Last month the person being bullied was reminded that they are valued by God (Isaiah 49:16) having been fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
We also spoke directly to the bystander and apprised them of the sense of betrayal one feels when those that the victim thought was their friend remained on the sidelines silent.
Jesus says we should love thy neighbor as thyself (Matthew 12:39). Standing by and watching a bully victimize another is very opposite of loving your neighbor as yourself.
This month we want to begin by offering a few suggestions to the victim of bullying and concluding with a challenge to everyone to join in to stop the bullying.
According to kidshealth.org, for younger kids experiencing bullying, the best way to solve a bullying problem is to tell a trusted adult. For teens, though, the tell-an-adult approach depends on the bullying situation. One situation in which it is vital to report bullying is if it threatens to lead to physical danger and harm.
Numerous high-school students have died when stalking, threats, and attacks went unreported and the silence gave the bully license to become more and more violent.
Sometimes the victim of repeated bullying cannot control the need for revenge and the situation becomes dangerous for everyone.
Adults in positions of authority — parents, teachers, or coaches — can often find ways to resolve dangerous bullying problems without the bully ever learning how they found out about it.
If you’re in a bullying situation that you think may escalate into physical violence, try to avoid being alone (and if you have a friend in this situation, spend as much time together as you can).
Try to remain part of a group by walking home at the same time as other people or by sticking close to friends or classmates during the times that the bullying takes place.
Now, we turn our attention to the person who is the bully. The Scripture says “for out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
This means that your mouth speaks what is in your heart. If there are good things and kind things in your heart, then you will be kind to others.
If there are awful things in there, then you’ll be one of those people who is always saying hurtful things and degrading things about other people.
If you are picking on others, making fun of them, have teased, or bullied someone, you must stop that type of behavior immediately and ask God for forgiveness. Ask God to create in you a clean heart (Psalm 51). God is ready and willing to forgive and change your heart of stone into a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).
The bottom line is bullying is no laughing matter. This is very serious stuff. The recipients of bullying have suffered health problems and constant taunting and teasing can affect a child’s performance in school.
Studies show that people who are abused by their peers are at risk for mental health problems, such as low self-esteem, stress, depression, or anxiety. They may even think about suicide more.
Bullies are at risk for problems, too. Bullying is violence, and it often leads to more violent behavior as the bully grows up. It is estimated that 1 out of 4 elementary-school bullies will have a criminal record by the time they are 30.
Some teen bullies end up being rejected by their peers and lose friendships as they grow older. Bullies may also fail in school and not have the career or relationship success that other people enjoy.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has adopted the slogan: “Take A Stand And Lend A Hand And Stop The Bullying Now!” If bullying is going to stop, it is going to take everyone’s participation. Won’t you join us?
The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o Fellowship of Love M.B.C. at P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.