Your cheeks are too chubby. You don’t act like a black guy should. Why do you hang out with those people? You believe in an invisible God?
Seriously, I could go on and on for days. I was bullied for everything imaginable growing up. I was made fun of for smiling on class photos to the point that I stopped smiling in photos at all. I was picked on for my demeanor and the way I talked, earning me the nickname “Charlie Brown.” There was nothing I could do to stop the torment. The more I fought back and stood up for myself (or others), the more I made myself a walking target. What made it worse was the fact that no one would stand up with me.
Bullying has reached an all-time high with the rise of social media and the Internet. Now, no one is immune from bullying or its’ reach. You always hear the saying “Sticks and Stones,” yet words can make you feel so alone; can pierce deeper than any arrow; can scar worse than any fire. All forms of bullying, whether physical, mental, or verbally can tear you down to the point that nothing is left. This leaves many of us with low self-esteem or even worse, seeking revenge.
As followers of Christ, what do we do? How do we overcome such a giant Goliath? How do we overcome such a gut-wrenching experience? This is obviously something I’ve grown passionate about over the years and have become an advocate to stop. I searched to find ways to peacefully and faithfully deal with bullying. So here are 5 ways to deal with bullying that I hope come in handy and help effectively deal with those who harm.
1. No Matter What Is Said, Seek God First
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” Proverbs 2:6
I know this seems like a hard first step when the fear and hurt are present but trust me, there is no better way than to seek God for wisdom FIRST. This will stop any clumsy thoughts or ideas from forming of getting revenge or letting the bullying cut so deeply you start to believe your worth is low. Remember you are God’s creation and none of his creations are worthless. You are a Prince/Princess, King/Queen and he sees you as such.
Seeking God helps find the wisdom to not only deal with the bully but also deal with you. The wisdom sought from God gives you the opportunity to have no regrets for your actions. If you go to Christ in love, you will in turn go to your bully in love. Seeking God also helps to not only grow your understanding but to also heal previous wounds from bullying. You start to understand your self-worth and open yourself to God’s grace.
2. No Matter How Bad It Hurts, Refuse to Seek Revenge
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s Wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
I don’t know if I can state this any more clearly. Just in case that verse doesn’t do it for you, read Romans 12:17 where it states to not repay evil with evil. Our God is the judge of all judgments and the issuer of any repayment plan. Let him deal with this issue and release your heart from bitter feelings or revenge. God said to love one another and revenge goes against everything in that statement.
3. As Hard As It Sounds, Pray and Forgive
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” Matthew 5:44-45
The title says it all in the fact that this is probably the hardest step. One of the greatest tips I received with this step is to blame Satan, not the bully. Satan uses anyone and anything to reach out and touch us. He will use every sneaky tactic and trick to distract us from God and his love.
Pray and forgive the bully, not for him but for yourself. I know some of you may be reading this now and don’t fully grasp this. Why do I need to pray and forgive for myself? It heals my family. To let someone take so much dominion over you through words and actions is tiresome. It drains you and becomes infectious. Forgive and do as God commanded, love your enemies just as you love your neighbors. Pray for them and set yourself free. You need this more than anything.
4. Seek Out Others For Support and Advice
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” Proverbs 15:22
Delve into the body of Christ and find others who cannot only help support you but also guide you to keep God first. Finding others who are also Christians or in similar situations is vital. This support system can support you when you’re down or simply give you right advice that you can’t see in moments of hurt and pain. Christians, this support system can help protect those who maybe are struggling with dealing with bullying the right way. Those stronger in faith can surround themselves around those who are weaker and build them up. This is so important to help others avoid feeling alone or desperate. Be there for someone and stand for something.
5. #Call To Action: Be Unique, Stand Up and Recognize Bullying
Lastly, don’t just ignore bullying family. One of the worst things you can do is just ignore a bully. Recognize them for what they are and respond in a loving, caring nature.
“By their fruit you will recognize them” Matthew 7:20
Understand bullying and all of its elements. Understand the bully by their actions and be proactive. Stop the bully before they get started or step in when necessary. Do so in a discerning, loving nature however. Understand the victim and be cognizant of what they’re going through. Understand their emotions and how they’re feeling. Again, use discernment to actively pray for wisdom on how to help the victim along with the bully.
My call to action is simple; be unique and stand for something. If you’re being bullied, actively seek God and follow the steps above. Don’t allow Satan to get the final say or the last laugh. You are worth so much my friend. You are worth more to God than you can ever imagine and never let anyone tell you any differently. If you know someone being bullied, actively seek to be their helping hand to steer them right.
DON’T BE A SPECTATOR WHEN YOU’RE CALLED TO BE BOLD
Help others in need or be there when someone needs you. Lets stop this epidemic now. God called us to be leaders so lets lead this charge, but let’s do so in a loving manner.
Prayer: God, I ask of you to help me deal with bullies in a loving manner. I’ve been bullied for too long and I won’t lie, the words cut deep but help me to remember my worth. Though Satan may try, he will never kill my attention from you. God, I ask of you to help me be bold and unique; Help me to stand up for those around the world that are being bullied and help me to gain the wisdom to steer them straight, away from those who try to hurt them. Help me to forgive and most importantly pray for my enemies and understand you are the final say; the one who will repay. I ask and thank you in Jesus name, Amen.