"There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family."
What is Bullying?
Bullying is defined as repeated aggressive behavior that may be verbal, physical or relational. It involves the misuse of power to intimidate, humiliate, threaten, manipulate or control. It can occur in the classroom, playground, the mall, on-line or on a cell phone, or even in the home. Bullying is a traumatic experience that can cause soul wounds at a young age. These soul wounds can easily transfer into adulthood if not addressed.
The Effects of Bullying
Each and every child, who is gift from God (James 1:17), is born with a purpose and a destiny (Jeremiah 1:5). Childhood bullying sends indirect messages to the victim that may cause him to draw erroneous conclusions about self-worth, self-value, and importance. The enemy of our soul, Satan, often attacks in our youth in an attempt to alter our self-perception and derail us from our God-given destiny. His effort is to introduce doubt and bring confusion into our lives at a young age. As adults, we are often endeavoring to overcome soul wounds and lies (we embrace as truth) that have their origin in childhood experiences. For example, I recall a story that an adult sibling shared concerning his sibling getting "beat up" in elementary school. This unresolved traumatic event wounded the sibling so deeply that the individual continues to struggle with issues of bitterness and rejection.
It is important not to minimize the bullying. It can lead to the following:
* Social isolation and withdrawal
* Poor school performance
* Sleep and/or appetite disturbances
* Poor self-esteem
* Feelings of inferiority
So, if you have a child who is the victim of bullying--or if you are an adult who was the victim of childhood bullying, how do you move beyond it?
1. Address it! There are many wonderful programs and resources in schools, communities, and on-line that can help children and their families deal with the effects of bullying.
2. Talk about it. Help your child identify and name the pain associated with the bullying. Give them the words to express their emotions.
3. Name the pain. If you are an adult who experienced bullying as a child and are having difficulty moving beyond it--go back. As an adult, give the pain a you experienced as a child a name. "I was embarrassed." "I felt ashamed." "I still feel angry." "I felt ignored by the adults in my life." "I wondered, what was wrong with me?"
Words and self-expression give us our power back.
4. Know who God says you are, and believe it!
Psalm 139:14, Isaiah 43:4, I Peter 2:9
Prayer for Overcoming Bullying
Father, I pray for every victim of bullying. Help them to know that the bullying was not their fault. May they see themselves as you see them. Remove the pain; heal every wound. I pray that they would make a decision to forgive the bully. Cause them to walk in victory and triumph. In Jesus' name, Amen.