Current statistics indicate half of school-age children report having been bullied in the past month. A strong link exists between bullying and suicide–the leading cause of death for young people.
Bullying is an increasing problem, but it isn’t a new problem nor is it confined to schools. Businesses bully, politicians bully, police bully, minorities bully, families bully–and sadly, even Christians bully.
Bullying isn’t always violent, but it is always an attempt to control. It manipulates, pressures, shames and intimidates. It’s a learned behavior that destroys lives as it proclaims, “It’s all about ME!”
- Bullies want their own way more they want anything else.
- Bullies are bossy.
- Bullies demand their own way when they want it & how they want it.
- Bullies set themselves up as god.
We can stop bullying…and the creation of bullies…by living as a child of the Most High God! God NEVER bullies, though the sad truth is many think God is a bully. He is humble, generous and good. His Way is the way to end bullying! Jesus is that Way!
Of course, knowing the answer is way easier than living the answer!
Let the animals teach…
Bullying is a natural trait of….wait for it…BUNNIES!
I saw that roll of the eyes. Stay with me.
Yes, bunnies are a prey animal. In nature, they are often on the receiving end of much more than bully-ing. By nature, though, within their social structure, bullying is a way of life.
Bunny hierarchy is pretty interesting but visit this link if bunny details are your primary interest because this will just be a fly (well, hop) over. While every colony (or warren) will have a Chief BIG BUNNY (BB), there are many BBs in the bunny world. Every BB expects–demands–to be worshiped and obeyed by every other bunny. The message from every BB (Big Bunny or Big Bully) is the same: “This life–including your life–is all about me.”
Good Goals Gone Wrong
Even good goals get lost with a self-centered approach. Respect & affection are the foundational values of bunny life. Every demand a bunny makes is for one of those purposes.
Good goals pursued the wrong way stop being good.
Disobedience to bunny social rules is read as disrespect–and receives a punishment. There are a lot of ways to offend a bunny. Hopping by without speaking, attention to another bunny or being too familiar can generate a foot flick, an angry look, a growl, bite or complete shunning. Taking offense is a bunny characteristic…it’s a bully characteristic too.
War in the Warren
Bunny bullying is pretty tame when they live in the wild. But a bunny stuck with humans who don’t speak bunny can get pretty aggressive. We humans are prone to disobeying bunny rules and creating resentments. Bunnies hold a grudge, and just like with people, grudges create walls of separation. Bully bunnies become so damaged, they do not want a relationship with people. Sometimes, fear, anger or pride take over every other desire and their innate sociability is destroyed. It is a sad state for the bunny-and its human family.
Does the Bullying problem in our world make more sense?
A World of Bullies
Self-centeredness and resentments are the commonality in warrens–and in our world. Selfishness and unhealed, open wounds create bullies…and victims. Unforgiveness is poison to yourself and the world around you!
The answer for both self-centeredness and resentments is the same:
Jesus, the Healer….Jesus, the reconciler.
Like bunnies, we people are created to be social. God so longed for relationship He created humanity. But God humbly loves…He gave humanity the freedom to choose to love Him or not. It is a fearsome choice with serious consequences. While God is generous and good, He is also holy. We are accountable for our choices. Every choice is a choice of LIFE or DEATH. Our choices are actions that produce one or the other.
Sadly, sometimes in our lives, greed, fear, anger and pride push God aside and we take matters in our own hands. We choose our way instead of The Way. We choose death.
Bullying is not solved by becoming a bigger bully.
Bullying stops when we refuse to bully–and when we refuse to be bullied–the same WAY Jesus responded. Instead of taking offenses to heart and holding on to them, we must know who God is and who He created us (ourselves & our offenders) to be.
Victors not Victims
Knowing God as the Bible reveals Him to be gives us victorious courage. We can walk through life secure in His care. That does not mean we will never have trials. Learning to trust God enough to die to self is a daily (moment-by-moment) necessity.
Jesus is the Way…and if we look at His life, we see His earthly life ended by bullies. In America, that is not a common danger–though it is in some places and sometimes is true here. Jim Elliott, who gave His life that others would have life, speaks eloquently to that concern:
Finally, the cure to bullying is in knowing the value of every life. The King of Kings died on the cross for individuals–not the masses. He died not as a martyr but as a sacrifice with great purpose: destroy the works of the devil and re-open the Way to relationship with the Father in heaven. He gave His life that we would be able to live in union with God and others. Our lives flow with that power and purpose when He lives in us.
Victors over Bullying
- Victors want God’s way more they want anything else.
- Victors are humble and meek.
- Victors respect people’s right to choose.
- Victors bow before their God and enjoy His presence.
What things tempt you to bully?
What ways are you bullied by others?
Will you choose The Way?