I’m going to write about something today that has happened in generation after generation, but seems to be at an all time high. It is something that definitely affects teen girls, whether they are the cause or the one on the receiving end. The subject is bullying. It seems almost every day you see a headline of another young person taking their life as a result of bullying. There are two parts of bullying – the one being the bully and the one getting bullied.
The first aspect of bullying I want to write about is being the bully. My guess is that most reading this don’t see themselves as a bully. You don’t attack others whether physically or verbally, but sometimes we need to be reminded how to treat people. The best source for that answer is in the Bible.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29, 31-32 NIV)
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Mathew 7:12 NIV)
There are so many more verses in the Bible that I could add here, but for the sake of space I won’t add any more. This all boils down to treating others how we want to be treated. Do I like to be made fun of because of my imperfections, the things I’m not good at, my skin color, etc. etc. etc.? What makes me think others like to be teased about these things? Sometimes we can become bullies without even realizing it. One thing keeps coming to my mind – there is a young person I know that has a hereditary trait that people tease him about. Everyone says, “oh, we are just messing with him,” but how does that affect him day in and day out? It’s not something he is enjoys about himself, so why should we constantly remind him (even in jest) about it? We might emphatically deny being a bully, but how do these actions line up when put under the microscope of these verses? The verse in Ephesians also says that the words that come out of our mouth should be “helpful for building others up.” This definitely makes me think that what I say to people should always be uplifting, instead of tearing down (even if I’m “just joking”). We’ve all heard the kids chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never heart me.” So far from the truth – words can hurt more than any other type of pain – and they last much longer.
Another way we can become bullies, is, when the crowd is doing it and we just go with the flow. Many times, when a kid is being bullied, it is by more than one person. We can allow ourselves to stand with the group to protect ourselves from becoming the next victim. We justify it by not saying the hurtful things, but we stand by and watch, or we do join in, just to save face with the majority.
Now the flip side of bullying – being bullied. This might seem odd to write about, but I feel it’s necessary to empower you girls if you are bullied or if you ever become the victim of bullying. I’ve seen so many news articles about a young person that committed suicide that in their last message to the world they say, “I felt that no one cared.” This is to let you know that someone does care. God loves you and made you. A few verses came to my mind when I thought about writing this, something to help the ones that feel no one cares.
5 …God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV)
5 … “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
No matter who isn’t there for us or who seems to be against us, God is ALWAYS there. He knew us before we were born, He formed us in our mother’s womb. He has plans for YOU – If you are someone who is bullied, remember that GOD LOVES YOU – and if you can lean on His strength through the hard times, He can work what was meant for evil into something GOOD.
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20 NIV)
If you hold on to your bad times as something that God can use in the future to help others, “the saving of many lives,” you can make it through anything. Don’t allow yourself to become bitter, but allow God’s love to shine through you – The bible says to love them that hate you, that persecute you – and to pray for them. Not the easiest thing, but with God’s help, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.