Biblical Counseling For Today’s Christian Family
Part 1 of 2
Every day thousands of teens wake up afraid to go to school. Bullying affects millions of students, and it has everyone worried.
Due to the attention, bullying has received and the serious problems associated with bullying, many adults, teachers, school administrators, coaches and even youth leaders have begun to take notice of this problem.
Regardless of the attention placed on bullying in recent years, there are still some parents, teachers, and other adults who don’t always want to recognize or deal with it when their children or students are on the receiving end.
This month and next, we will look at this issue of bullying. If you are a victim of bullying, a bystander, or you are the bully, these articles have been written with you in mind.
What is bullying? Bullying is the process of intimidating or mistreating somebody who is weaker or in a more vulnerable situation. According to kidshealth.org, two of the main reasons people are bullied are because of appearance and social status.
Bullies pick on the people they think don’t fit in, maybe because of how they look, how they act (for example, kids who are shy and withdrawn), their race or religion, or because the bullies think their target may be gay or lesbian.
Some bullies attack their targets physically, which can mean anything from shoving or tripping to punching or hitting, or even sexual assault.
Others use psychological control or verbal insults to put themselves in charge.
For example, people in popular groups or cliques often bully people they categorize as different by excluding them or gossiping about them (psychological bullying). They may also taunt or tease their targets (verbal bullying).
Verbal bullying can also involve sending malicious and unkind text messages, cruel instant or email messages or even posting insults about a person on a website. These practices are known as cyber-bullying.
If you are being teased or made fun of, know it is not your fault. These bullies or teasers may be trying to get attention from you or others or they may be trying to make themselves feel better.
Just because someone teases you and calls you names, does not define who you are in God. You have been created by God in His own image (Genesis 1:27); you are valued by God: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (Isaiah 49:16); and you are one of His prized possessions (1 Peter 2:9.)
Because you are valued by God, you have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Don’t believe what the bullies say about you, but remember who you are in God. God loves you, He cares for you and He accepts you no matter what.
Now, allow me to speak directly to the bystander. Almost as hurtful as the pain the bullies inflict is the pain caused by a sense of betrayal. Many victims of bullying have been betrayed by friends who remained silent when witnessing bullying taking place.
Just as in the story of the priest and the Levite in Luke 10 who both passed to the other side of the road when they saw a man bleeding and hurt lying on the side of the road; far too many friends and fellow students have chosen to keep their mouths closed and kept their distance when they saw others being victimized by bullying.
Remember the Bible says you are to “love your neighbor as yourself” and to “do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 22:39; Luke 6:31).
March – Part 2: Bullying: Words Do Hurt
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.
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