- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What Does God Say About Bullying?
Merriam-Webster defines bullying as: “abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc.” Why would someone choose to be abusive? Is this a demonstration of fear or misunderstanding? In our society, bullying usually begins with some form of verbal abuse. Merriam-Webster defines abuse as: “language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily.”
Most of the bullying I have witnessed, either personally or through a news outlet, includes anger and the appearance of hatred. It is the outward display of a feeling of fear caused by a misunderstanding regarding another person or group. How does God tell us to treat people when we have these feelings, Matt 5:43-46, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” Does God not tell us to love them? Will our response of love help us overcome the fear and misunderstanding?
When we stop fearing other people, we will begin to see that we are all part of God’s creation and each of us has our own share of faults. The compassion that results will lead us to understand God’s calling to us, 2 Tim 1:17, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Has He not given us a sound mind so that we can treat others the way we want to be treated? When we return good for the evil we imagine in others, does not our love shown to them make them reconsider their own thoughts? Mk 12:31, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” We need not agree on all topics, or life choices, however, does God not ask each of us to love our neighbor unconditionally? Otherwise, are we any better than those who choose we see hating without cause?
Can there be any excuse for harming our neighbor, either physically or mentally? Rom 2:1-3, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” Can we imagine we can harm people because we are afraid they will harm us, or others, and have God’s blessing?
What does bullying accomplish? Is it meant to change the behavior of the person being bullied? Is it meant to make the bully feel stronger and more powerful? Does anyone really believe you can change a person’s mind by bullying that person? God is clear on this subject, He wants us to always seek peace, in every situation, if it is possible, Rom 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Is God not asking us to show our strength by helping others, not bullying them? Matt 15:1, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”
There is no room for bullying in God’s advice and there will be no room for bullying in heaven, Gal 5:19-23, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Is God not telling us that we will either learn to love each other here on earth, or we will not see heaven?
Could God be any clearer on this subject, God is not a fan of hatred and bullying.
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