One thing you learn if you are alive is that there are bullies.
All of us have either been bullied, watched a bully in action, stood up to a bully, or, perhaps at times, been a bully. We have seen bullies on the schoolyard, in the workplace, and on the political scene.
Bullies know no age, no century, no gender. But two things are true. They primarily come from a place of insecurity and they work off of others’ fear. Bullying can be verbal, physical, social (spreading rumors and lies), and, of course, these days—cyber.
Most bullies have low-self esteem, so if they can exert “power” over someone, then, supposedly, they will feel better. They usually don’t, but that’s the intent.
That “power” is derived from another’s surrender. No surrender. No power.
The Bible has a lot to say about bullying.
We are called to love our neighbors. We are told not to envy. We are exhorted to live peaceably. We are reminded to watch our tongue. In short, we are commanded not to bully.
Likewise, we are to be “strong and courageous. . . not to 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.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“For God gave use a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7
One website gives multiple ways to handle a bully, most of which include walking away. In some cases, you should tell him/her to stop, in others to make light of what they have said. All of which add up to stripping the bully of his power. Unless the target reacts in fear, the bully has no power.
The Bible provides multiple examples of bullies and their intended targets. Those who were victorious relied on God’s strength and not their own.
Haman—Mordecai and Esther
It might seem like a strange topic to address, and may seem like it came out of the blue, but really it isn't and it hasn’t. Our society is a constant reminder that the ramifications of bullying can be tragic. Most school shooters were victims of bullying.
All of this to once again underline and highlight that the solution for bullying and any other crime is not going to be more laws, (California had 900 new laws as of January 1!) but in the transformation of the heart on one side and the dependance on God’s strength and love on the other.
May we never be a bully and may we never cower in fear, but instead be messengers of love and examples of God’s power and protection.