Bullying and the Bible: How to Help Bully Victims
As any parent will tell you, bullying is a big problem for today’s kids. “Virtual Roundtables” on the subject of Bullying & the Bible.
Our goal is simple: We want to equip children to confront the modern challenges of Bullying by turning to the Bible for wisdom, strength, and hope.
Throughout history, two things have not changed: (a) God’s word, and (b) human nature. God’s word speaks loudly and clearly on the subject of bullying, and the stories are relevant to cyber bullying, school yard bullying, and neighborhood bullying.
Each of the 6 experts prepared their answer independently, and we have simply compiled their wonderful & diverse ideas below.
We hope you enjoy the discussion:-) We’d love to invite you to join the conversation, if you’d like to contribute a reply, thought, or idea,- don’t hesitate to leave us a note in the “Comments” below this post.
Virtual Roundtable: Bullying and the Bible
While we don’t have any record of Jesus being bullied or mistreated as a boy, Jesus did speak to how we are to relate to those who are unkind and mean to us which applies to bullying.
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)
When someone mistreats us, the natural instinct is to feel anger, even hatred toward that person. But Jesus here points us to a much different response. You see, while we were enemies of God, He loved us by sending his only Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be forgiven. It is this same kind of undeserving love that Jesus tells us to extend to our enemies.
Every time a child is bullied, they need help in processing how to deal with the hurt, fear, and anger which result. When we take them to the gospel, we give them the opportunity to process what happened redemptively. What better way forward than to help our children understand that the world is filled with lost souls who need our prayers. What better hope for moving on from a bullying incident than pointing them to the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins and then inviting them to extend the same forgiveness to those who oppress us.
I lead a Kid’s intercessory prayer group (ages 5 yrs. to 6th grade) on Tuesday evenings at our church. I equip the kids in all the areas of prayer, (praying the bible, pray for healing, praying for the nations, etc…) as part of the time I always include a time that I call listening praying (soaking prayer), their time for God to speak to their heart personally.
After we’ve had the quiet time I always ask if God spoke to them, if there’s something that’s bothering them, they want us to prayer and minister to them about bullying. I have been amazed especially the last 5 to 6 years the kids that will want prayer for some one at school, on the bus, playing in their neighbor, who has either been cruel to them, picked on them, and in some form bullied them. Most of the time they have told no-one not even their Moms. The prayer environment creates an atmosphere where the child feels safe to share to share what happened. I listen, then will usually ask them how that made them feel, it’s important to validation their feelings, not dismiss it with remarks like “well kids will be kids”.
I might respond with “I’m so sorry that happened to you, I can see why that bothered you. We (the kids and myself) will pray for them,(it also opens up discussion that others will share similar situations). If fear is involved, I share the scripture that “Gods not given them a spirit of fear, but love, power and a sound mind,” then mentor them to use the scripture when they feel those feelings of fear, to say the verse till they feel better.
I encourage them to tell their Moms, the person in charge, or an adult they trust. I will usually share with a parent what happened, and suggest for them to create a time to talk to the child about what’s going on in their life without the child feeling I betrayed their confidence. In the day we live we are all so busy that many times we get so distracted by life we miss things that might be going on in our children. Make time to develop a prayer life with your children and let them learn to express their hearts..
A child who endures the pain of bullying is a hero. It takes courage to face each day knowing you will be taunted, teased, and picked on. If a child comes to you with the problem of bulling, there are several things you can do to help.
Commend the child for coming forward. Praise them for their strength to take a stand. Speak words of life into these children. They have been bruised and are likely to have low self esteem. Be sure they understand they are safe sharing with you. Many children who are being bullied do not have a safe person to talk. They may think they cannot talk about it without repercussions.
Children need to be taught how to be courageous and stand up for themselves. Teaching a child to have a healthy self image of themselves creates a confident kid. They do not deserve to be treated anything less than the treasure they are.
In second Kings Chapter nine we read the story of Jehu and Jezebel. Jezebel was a manipulating and conniving bully who used her power to push people around. It took the courage of Jehu to stand against Jezebel and have her destroyed. Courage was Jehu’s strength. First Samuel seventeen tells the story of David and Goliath. A young man with no training stood up to a powerful warrior who was a tormentor. David did not allow man’s preserved weakness of him to stop him from boldly confronting and eliminating the bully Goliath. David’s strength was in boldness.
A child who has suffered from bullying may have developed ungodly beliefs about himself. It is important to teach children how to counteract what was said and done to them. Encourage them to share or write out what was spoken and done to them. Then, go through the Scriptures and find out what God says about this. If they are told they are ugly, God’s word states in Psalms 47:11a “The King is enthralled by your beauty”. If they have been told they are better off dead, how is that possible? Each person’s life has value. We were created with a purpose (Jeremiah 1:5). When we fulfill that purpose we walk into our destiny and touch the lives of those around us. As a child realizes their value and importance, they can stand up to whatever may come their way.
Scripture: Matthew 27:27-30 (NIrV)
The Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus
The governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the palace, which was called the Praetorium. All the rest of the soldiers gathered around him. They took off his clothes and put a purple robe on him. Then they twisted thorns together to make a crown. They placed it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand. Then they fell on their knees in front of him and made fun of him. “We honor you, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him. They hit him on the head with the stick again and again.
Jesus knows first hand what it is to be bullied. After Jesus had been arrested, the solider hurt him by beating Him and making fun of Him. It can be hard to talk about the abuse you take from a bully because you may feel like no one can understand what you’re going through. You can always speak to Jesus, however, even if you feel like you can’t talk to anyone else because He knows exactly what it is like to both be hurt physically and emotionally.
What you should keep in mind, however, is that later on in this same Bible story, Jesus forgives those who have hurt Him, saying to His Father in heaven, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:32, NIrV). There is power in forgiveness. As hard as it might be, you should follow Jesus’ example and forgive the bullies who hurt you as well.
Initially, when talking about the issue of bullying, my thoughts went to the stories of David and King Saul. King Saul had some pretty significant insecurity issues and felt amazingly intimidated by David. For no reason, (except for being jealous), King Saul sought out to bring harm to David.
Sometimes people who are dealing with insecurity or other issues are going to treat us improperly, just like King Saul did with David. David had a very high level of respect for Saul. He knew that Saul was loved by God and had been anointed by God, so he didn’t seek to harm Kind Saul. We should take a lesson here.
Even when a bully treats us with disrespect, it is important to remember that God made that bully and cares for him or her as well. We can take whatever action our parents or teachers suggest, but it’s important to remember that God love him/her and we should treat him/her the way that God does them.
Being bullied is a hard thing to deal with. It’s hard to talk about, hard to understand, and hard to move past. I don’t know a soul who truly knows a fool proof method on bullying, but there is one truth I do know. God created each and every being on this earth and saw that they were good. You are good. You are not insignificant, or any of the other hateful things that are being said, or done. You are good.
Psalm 139 says you were knit in your mother’s womb. God took great care in making you just the way you are, and saw that everything about you was good. When things seem dark, and lonely, remember that you are good. You are a beautiful creation. You have a special place here in the web of life. You are good.
We’d like to sincerely thank everyone below for continuing to share their knowledge and for giving their time to this Roundtable Discussion. Please feel free to comment, tweet, Pin and “Like” this post to help spread the word.