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BULLIED NO MORE!
In the classroom and on social media, from the playground to the nursing home – bullying happens everywhere. In the Women of Faith resources, learn how you can prevent, stop, intervene, and respond to bullying.
The statistics are staggering. The consequences are critical. From students to stockbrokers, in neighborhoods and nursing homes, the brutal behavior of bullying runs rampant. Whether maligned in social media or demoralized in one’s declining years—bullying is a problem worldwide. Whether you are the bullied, the bystander, the bully, or the parent of a bully, God’s Word provides practical help for dealing with this destructive societal downfall. In the Women of Faith resources, discover how God’s truth can equip you with right thinking, and how His unfailing love can mend the broken heart.
The “art” of bullying casts a wide net:
- Bullying is any deliberate, hostile, physical, emotional, or verbal abuse involving an imbalance of power with the intent to hurt or harm.
- Bullying seeks to emotionally harass or physically harm others, even to the extent of damaging property and destroying pets, in order to cause debilitating fear and distress.
- Bullying is not a onetime act, but rather repeated, persistent harassment by a person or group, often targeting someone perceived to be weaker physically or psychologically.
- Bullying is persistent, pervasive abuse using intimidating or terrorizing tactics.
- Bullying does not stop without intervention and it must stop!
How to Spot a Bully
Sometimes recognizing bullying can be a challenge. Fights between friends may be simply that ... “friendly fights.” But not so with bullies. Bullying takes place when one person possesses more power than another person and intentionally leverages that power to threaten, scare, isolate, or hurt that other person.
Few people know how to respond to bullying. Children tend to freeze in the face of their tormentors. Meanwhile, most bystanders watch fearfully in silence or eventually join the bully. Those who are victims may try to act tough or hit back, but then the attacks only last longer or get worse.
Between the three groups—the bullies, the bullied, and the bystanders—those with the most power to cause the most change are the bystanders. Learning the right assertive response can curtail bullying sooner rather than later.
Parents, teachers, and other adults need to help both the bullied and the bystanders practice how to intervene—focusing on what to say and how to say it. Then after participating in this type of role play, children can respond correctly, effectively, and immediately.
The Bible’s book of wisdom describes the type of words that flow from both those who are right and those who are wrong toward others ... from those who help and from those who hurt. ...
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”
What Is Bullying?
- Bullying is deliberate, hostile, physical, verbal, or psychological activity involving an imbalance of power with the intent to harm and induce fear.
- Bullying seeks to emotionally harass or physically harm others, even to the extent of harming property and pets, in order to cause debilitating fear and distress.
- Bullying is persistent, pervasive abuse that creates an intimidating or terrorizing environment.
- Bullying is not a onetime act, but rather repeated, persistent harassment by a person or group targeting someone who is weaker physically or psychologically.
- Bullying does not stop without intervention, but it must stop!
The following acrostic addresses the four primary components found in bullying:
S—Severe: Intensely harsh, stern, and critical
T—Threatening: Intentionally fear-producing and terrorizing
O—Out-of-Balance: Imbalance of power, ill-matched and unequal strength
P—Persistent: Incessant, continual, not a onetime act
These words of Scripture apply to bullies ...
“Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.”
What Is Not Considered Bullying?
Conflict exists in every relationship, but there are clear and distinct differences between conflicts in healthy relationships and those in bullying ones.
Healthy Common Conflicts ...
- Involve equal power between people
- Occur occasionally
- Often unintentional
- Seldom serious
- Not power seeking
- Usually result in remorse
- Occur with the desire to solve the problem
- Never initiated to cause harm
Unhealthy Bullying Conflicts ...
- Involve unequal power between the bully and the bullied
- Occur repeatedly
- Always intentional
- Often serious
- Always power seeking
- Never result in remorse
- Occur with no desire to solve the problem
- Always initiated to cause harm
Bullying Is Not ...
- An isolated event
- General hostility
- Sibling rivalry
- A personality clash
- A heated argument
- An escalating fight
- Defending against a bully
“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.”
Biblical Steps to Prevent Bullying
- Explain that God makes everyone valuable. (Proverbs 27:17)
- Model relationships of respect, kindness, civility, and self-control. (Titus 2:7–8)
- Connect with your child’s online community. (1 Peter 3:10–12)
- Own responsibility to prevent and stop bullying. (Psalm 59:12)
- Work with your community to prevent bullying. (Proverbs 15:22)
- Encourage your children to stand up for themselves and others. (Galatians 6:2)
- Redeem the heart of your bullying child or reclaim the dignity of your bullied child. (Luke 6:31)
How to Get Help If You Are Bullied
- Find someone you trust.
Go to an authority figure (parent, administrator, teacher, coach, or counselor) as well as someone in your peer group to talk about the bullying. Gaining insights from different perspectives can help you make wise choices.
2. Be completely honest about your experiences and feelings.
Present an accurate picture of what has been happening. Don’t hold back.
3. Learn to say, “No.”
Building strong and healthy boundaries demonstrates self-respect and encourages others to respect you as well.
4. Ask about what kinds of social skills or techniques might help overcome or prevent bullying.
Preventing isolation, developing friendships that offer mutual protection, or using humor to diffuse difficult situations are all valuable abilities that require practice.
5. Remain calm.
Do not demonstrate any extreme reactions. Cowering in fear, angry retaliation, or tearful escape may only encourage a bully by giving them a false feeling of power and control over you.
Finally, never give up! If you look for help but don’t find it, keep looking. Tell your story to others until you find the help that you need. Don’t give in to bullies but practice being assertive and standing your ground. ...
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
God’s Truth about Bullying
If you struggle with bullying others, remember:
- God loves you but hates your evil attitudes and actions. (Proverbs 8:13)
- God judges you and will extract payment from you for your hurtful actions. (Galatians 6:7)
- God calls you to stop bullying once and for all. (1 Corinthians 15:34)
- God yearns for you to have a repentant heart and to seek forgiveness so that He might extend mercy and forgiveness to you. (Psalm 51:1)
- God longs for you to have a heart of compassion for the weak, the oppressed, the bullied. (Psalm 82:3)
If you struggle with being bullied, remember:
- God sees your abuse and victimization. (Luke 8:17)
- God records the impact of your mistreatment ... the tears you have shed. (Psalm 56:8)
- God longs for you to turn to Him in prayer for strength and protection. (Psalm 46:1)
- God avenges the helpless, and He will avenge you in His time and in His way as you walk in forgiveness. (Romans 12:19; 1 Peter 3:9).
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
(2 Corinthians 1:3–4)
Key Verses to Learn
For the Bully—
“‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
(1 Peter 5:5–6)
For the Bullied—
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
For the Bystander—
“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?”
Key Passage to Read:
LIVE IN VICTORY!
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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!
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