Get Back Up

Learn how the Bible can help you overcome the consequences of bullying. By Joyce Dlugose

No bully will knock you down when Christ holds you up!

Bullying. It’s part of school vocabulary as much as the words “math” or “pencil.” It’s a little box to put in the deepest, darkest actions and feelings of embarrassment and desperation. Let’s agree that this is bigger than the term bullying: it’s abuse.

Schools try. Educators realize the short- and long-term effects of bullying; they realize its epidemic proportions. As many as 77% of students report being bullied in school, with cyberbullying at a similar percentage. Attendance reports estimate 160,000 students a day miss school due to fear of being bullied. Schools have started support groups and teacher trainings to effectively deal with bullying. These are steps in the right direction, but they don’t entirely stop bullying and the lifelong repercussions of being publicly abused or threatened. It shouldn’t be a surprise that people turn to thoughts of suicide as an escape from the pain.

students-bullying-discrimination, racism, school corridor

The Bible tells us we’re “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm139:14, NIV) and “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him”  (Romans 8:28, NIV). But, the world (and to someone being bullied, the bullier can seem like the world) tells us we’re worthless and our differences are targets for exploitation. It’s confusing for Christians who are bullied to be told they’re God’s wondrous creations, but live with people aggressively telling them they’re a worthless joke. For Christians, bullying goes past the  agony of abuse; it becomes a test of faith and a desperate questioning of God.

The most profound thing I’ve learned about bullying is this: those being bullied need to know other people have been bullied and survived. Victims need to know there is help and life after this. The heart of bullying is hopelessness. People who’ve been bullied need to pour hope into those who are suffering now. Those who’ve been bullied often hold back on sharing their experiences because it feels painful and shameful. 

Every step taken past being bullied is something to be celebrated, not covered by indignity. Your story may be the only light someone has to guide them through the darkest time in their life. Pour hope into their lives that, yes, they have been treated wrongly, but they will survive. The adversity they’re going through is not the end; it’s a stepping-stone on the greater path God’s planned for them. Support them, advocate for them, and speak Truth to them.

To those living through abuse, please speak up! You don’t deserve to be treated any less than what God intended you for. Speak to a trusted adult, at school, home, or your corps (church). They’ll support you with real solutions. Jeremiah 31:21 (NIV) tells us to “set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take.” In your life, these road signs and guideposts are the trusted people God has put in your life to guide and remind you of your worth. Your mind will become a dark place when you’re caught in a cycle of abuse. These “guideposts” will be a light of hope. You have a beautiful life ahead that God’s planned for you. 

In ALL things, God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Even cruel things, even hard things, even bullying. God’s plan could be for the bullied to share how he or she survived and, even years later, to show others they’ll survive, too.

To read stories of people who’ve lived through bullying, visit reachout.com and noplace4hate.org.

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