How to deal with bullying the Christian way


Bullying is a serious issue in society today, especially among the younger generation. Extreme bullying can lead to serious physical harm, and in most cases, even verbal bullying can scar a victim for life. It is important that as Christians, we take a stand on bullying and do something about it. But, what exactly does God expect us to do with victims and bullies?

Do Not Seek Vengeance

In the Bible, there are no specific mentions about how a Christian must deal with a bully. To define bullying, it is an act where a person uses strength or power to intimidate another person who is usually deemed weaker. Bullying can be physical or emotional. Bullies usually do this so they can get their way. Although we aren't directly taught to deal with bullies, there are similar stories in the Bible about people who use power and strength to get ahead.

For victims of bullying, they shouldn't seek vengeance. Being bullied is hurtful. A victim will not understand why he/she is getting picked on. If one doesn't understand the reason behind it, how can he/she be able to deal with it? But according to Matthew 5:38-42, retaliation isn't about revenge. It's about turning the other cheek.

You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

If you are insulted, do not insult the bully back. If the bully is manipulating you, don't engage in manipulative behavior. As the Bible teaches, Christians must always be patient and practice self-control. However, this doesn't mean that victims cannot report the bully to the proper authorities. It is important that a victim speaks up so that the bully can be prevented from harming others.

Offer Support

What if you see bullying in action? Are you to intervene? That's a case-to-case basis. Sometimes, you must, and sometimes you don't. Sometimes, intervening can make matters worse. However, a Christian will not be judged if he/she practiced self-defense. And if you see a bully physically hurting someone, you must step in. While Christians are taught to be loving and kind, it doesn't mean we will permit evil when we see it.

Sometimes, all it takes is standing up to the bully to protect the victim and to prevent future instances of physical bullying. After that, you must offer support to the victim, whatever he/she needs. It is a very traumatizing experience. Additionally, don't forget to report the incident to authorities.

Don't Judge the Bully

Bullies, especially the younger bullies, must not be judged. Usually, bullies are going through their own problems in life and bullying has simply become an outlet. I'm not saying it justifies the act, but the point is, they may have their reasons. Don't hate them for it, instead, say a prayer for them. Bullies are often hurting or are in pain, which is why they want to force pain onto others.

You may also want to reach out to the bully sometime if and when you feel it is safe to do so and if possible, share God's love with them, show them that they can share their pain with others and that you can help address the issue.  If that's not possible, don't be ashamed to look after your safety and the safety of others as your first priority.  And of course, fully leave the situation in God's hands.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 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. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12:17–21

Our God is a merciful God, which is why we must extend the same mercy to other people. This doesn't mean that you have to fight a bully too, rather, stand up for the victim. If you've been bullied, learn to forgive. Continue praying for bullies and victims, they need God in their lives more than ever. And more importantly, lean on God for healing.