Mean girls. Imposing teachers. Thugs. Gangs. Raging bosses.
No one likes a bully.
And based on the comments on my blog this past weekend, bullies are a problem for children and adults. They are a problem at school and church. They are a problem in the workplace and in homes. Bullies flourish where they are tolerated.
Sadly, when someone has been victimized by a bully for any length of time, they feel powerless to do anything about it. They are weakened. Their self-esteem is crushed. Fear closes off their options. And the worst thing of all is when bullied people think they deserve it.
What if you are a victim of bullying right now? What should you do?
First, I want you to allow a holy anger to rise up in you. This shouldn't be happening to anyone! Allow God's passion for justice to flood through you. God's justice isn't for other people - it's for you too. Make sure your children know this too.
Too many of us are apathetic to injustice. Hollywood and over-exposure to violence is a big part of this. We can easily be dulled to civil wars across the world, and hate crimes in our state. So when a bully pushes us around, we don't like it, but we don't experience a righteous anger about it.
Read the story of Jesus John 2:13-16
"When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"
Jesus was angry. He made a whip and chased away those "bullies" taking advantage of God's chosen ones coming to the temple. Jesus' passion for God's people and God's holiness prompted His reaction.
Obviously, we shouldn't grab a whip and chase away bullies ... as much as we would like to. But we clearly see God's heart for those who are taken advantage of. God does not want anyone to be victimized by a bully, and we need to get that into our hearts. We need to see ourselves as God sees us - worthy of being safe. Worthy of being protected. Worthy of being loved.
Once we have a right perspective of bullying, we can make a wise decision about what to do.
Protecting ourselves from immediate harm is the most important thing to do. Facing a bully might not be the wisest thing. This might mean separating ourselves physically for at time. But that's not all we should do.
On Wednesday, I'll post some common characteristics of bullied people. If you are a parent, this will help you raise kids who are bully-proof. If you are an adult, you might discover some habits that are making you an easy target. This isn't a guarantee you'll never face a bully, but there is something you can do.
Now, I'd like to announce the winners of my book, "When Your Child is Hurting." I'll announce them by the first part of their email addresses: aroberts & dksester. Congratulations. I'll send you a personal email.
Please join me on Wednesday for more thoughts on bullying.
In His Love,