About a year or so ago, a co-worker sent me an article regarding the “Calvin and Hobbes” creators’ take on bullying.
The article hit home with me, reminding me of the times I was picked on, bullied, teased and humiliated mercileslly by other kids. I even had a few cousins who didn’t have a problem with poking and prodding me with their opinions and criticisms about the way I talked, walked, acted or existed.
Bullying did so much damage that it took a long time for me to come to a place of forgiveness and letting go. I take the issue very seriously, but, I learned most recently after reading that article and after further study of the Word of God that my whole view on Bullying, perhaps my “theological” view on Bullying, may have been very, very wrong.
Let me explain…and both apologize.
In the past, I have made comments like, “your bullies will get theirs someday” and “one day you’ll be successful while they are working at McDonalds.”
Junk like that! Yeah, I know. I realize now moreso than ever that victory is NOT found in seeing your bullies fail and fall. That’s not love that God calls us too…at all.
I was wrong and I apologize.
I used to believe that my bullies of the past would one day get theirs and that they would be dealt with.
Truth is, that’s not always the case. They could end up with a change of heart. God may have changed their hearts and minds. Then what? Or, the bullies may not change at all and instead of working in fast-food they could end up being your boss! Then what?
As my Pastor one Sunday was preaching on loving your enemies, the Lord was tugging at my heart, reminding me of my boyhood past that seemed to play over and over in my head and heart. Then, conviction came, the reality that I not only needed to let go of what happened in my past but realize that the victory doesn’t come from the bullies of my past getting what I thought they deserve, but, from victory in Jesus.
Luke 6:27-31 says this:
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”
Luke 6:35 says this:
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”
The article I read talked about a kind of moral justification, a kind of desire to be good and not stoop down to the level of the bully. And that’s a good thing to consider. But, for a deeper and lasting and real affect, it has to be more than just desiring to be good. You can’t do it by yourself and by your own kind of moral compass. Your greatest victory is in Christ.
What Would I Tell A Kid Now Dealing With Bullying
I’m still trying to figure this part out! The best advice is to make sure that people know about it. And as a kid, I know this is hard! On the one hand, you want something done about it, but, on the other hand you don’t want it things to go from bad to worse.
I was fortunate that I had a healthy understanding that who I was to God was way more important than what people thought of me. That got damaged during times of bullying, but not totally destroyed.
It’s by His Grace and Mercy I’m able to maintain that mindset even after all of that.
What I have found is that building a network of friends and people who support and love you through it helps.
As a kid going through bullying, I often felt alone in my struggles. No one, especially adults, bothered to step in and try and fix the problem. As kids, it seems like we were left on our own when it came to bullying.
There was no “speak up” or “speak out” or other bullying initiatives. It was the wild west for me and a lot of other kids.
I would say, “sure, self-defense, teach your kid to fight or put them in karate classes,” but that only solves a part of the problem.
The issue of bullying is complex. It is a little more than just “self-defense” but it is also a little more than just teaching children to accept and love one another and appreciate each others’ differences.
As a kid, much like the writer of the article I mentioned earlier said, as a kid you want justice NOW…not later. And that’s hard on the heart of a boy or girl. It’s a harsh lesson of childhood, but, it doesn’t have to end there.
I’m grateful for kids and adults who step up and demand that bullying stop these days. I’m grateful for the fact some kids are a lot stronger and tougher in their resolve and refuse to let themselves be teased or picked on or belittled.
But, I think of the kid like me, who didn’t want to get hurt so they would try to avoid the fight…but…knowing that if they did try to do something and they lost they would come home to punishment.
So, what would I tell a kid now whose being bullied!?
This might not be much to that kid out there, but here goes……………
You matter more than you know. Please, don’t forget that you’re important and that you matter. You have purpose in your life. You are valuable!!! I know you’re hurting right now and I know that it sucks that you’re being bullied.
Self-defense is one thing…and you’re probably scared of fighting and getting hurt. But, don’t go it alone. There’s too many people around you that actually do care and will stop at nothing to see you through what you’re going through right now.
Tell your family, tell the school leaders around you, tell your church, tell the world, make it known….you’re loved and you matter!
Things are a little different now than what they used to be, and you don’t have to fight through this alone. If you’re a victim of bullying, say somethings and don’t stop saying something.
If you need to talk it out…if you need to cry…if you need help…you’re not alone. You’re never alone.
Never let anyone try to make you feel less than what you are.
From the Spiritual aspect…to the person whose experienced bullying…know this….
Your greatest victory is not in just being better than your bullying…but not becoming bitter from the bullying. The greatest victory is in Christ…where love will lead you to letting go of bitterness, anger, hatred and vengefulness and will instead lead you to prayer for them and yourself and praise to God.