What Does the Bible Teach Us About Bullying

Second, it’s OK to stick up for yourself if you are bullied. Christians can often be confused by passages such as Matthew 5:39 and Luke 6:29 which tell us to “turn the other cheek.” Most commentators agree that these passages are probably not referring to severe physical or emotional abuse, but rather a slap that is meant as an insult. When we look at the context, Jesus is teaching his disciples about the suffering they are going to endure for being a Christian (Luke 6:22). His primary concern is speaking against the “eye for an eye” mentality of revenge (Matt. 5:38) that was prevalent in the culture. He is not speaking against all forms of self defense. Jesus himself, when he was slapped unjustly, did not turn the other cheek but questioned his accusers (John 18:22-23). From other passages of Scripture (Ex. 22:2-3; Neh. 4:16-18), we can see that even using physical force to defend yourself is permissible in some circumstances. However, do this only in situations where you are being physically assaulted and have no other choice. Use the amount of force necessary to escape, never to take revenge.

Sticking up for yourself may be difficult to do, but if you are able to stay calm and respond in a loving manner, then you have every right as an image-bearer of God to defend yourself and speak the truth. You are worth being defended.

4. Reach out to those being bullied

Lastly, we need to reach out to those being bullied. One of the best ways we can do this is to befriend them and invite them to hang out with us. Not only will this make them feel loved, accepted, and less alone, it also acts as a deterrent to bullying. Bullies are much less likely to pick on someone if they are in a group of friends than if they are alone. Another helpful thing we can do is comfort and encourage them. Remind them of their intrinsic worth and value, combating the lies that bullies speak. Even little things like spending time with them or giving them a hug make a bigger difference than we realize.

Bullying is wrong, period. As Christians, we are called to act in love and kindness toward everyone, including those who wrong us. And we are called to stand up for the vulnerable and weak. We should do good in the face of being mistreated, and when we see others being mistreated. Above all, we shouldn’t try to handle these situations alone. Authorities should be involved when needed. And our family, friends and church love and care about us and are there to support us.

NOTES
  1. ^ Richard T. Scarpaci, “Bullying,” Kappa Delta Pi Record 42, no. 4 (Summer 2006): 170-174. Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed June 10, 2017).
  2. ^ Ashley L. Cohen, “Bullying,” Research Starters: Education (January 2017): Research Starters, EBSCOhost (accessed June 10, 2017).
  3. ^ “Bullying Definition.” StopBullying.gov. Accessed June 10, 2017. https://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html.
  4. ^ “Facts About Bullying,” StopBullying.gov. Accessed June 11, 2017. https://www.stopbullying.gov/media/facts/index.html.
  5. ^ Ibid.

This article originally appeared here.

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Neal Hardin
Neal Hardin grew up in Murrieta, CA before getting his BS in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Utah in 2012. Following that, he worked as an engineer for 4 years at a steel mill before the Lord called him to pursue a seminary education in 2016. Neal is currently a Master's student at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, CA pursuing his MA in Theology.