25 Oct How to Deal with Bullying as a Christian
Okay okay!! So today I want to write about something very serious to me. This is like a mini rant and I figured that there is no better place to write this than here. Sooooo! Here it goes: it’s about bullying. Let me take a few seconds of your time to tell you how much I hate bullying. Okay, I am not sure anyone likes it but whatever! me I just hate it. simple and short! I hate it for all the right reasons. I hate it because I have been bullied in secondary school. That story is another one for another day. Don’t allow me to open that chapter. It will be a whole library and a half.
So, a few days ago, my cousin came back home and looked quite gloomy. It was on a Friday. Day one passed and then day two all the way through the weekend. On Monday, my mother in her usual fashion of just gisting and talking and asking about everyone’s day (She genuinely always wants to hear about it. She’d actually listen to it. No matter how useless and boring it is). In the course of talking, she discovered that my cousin who normally is a tyrant at home was bullied. Are you aware that even normally bold people can be bullied? No? Yes? okay, it is possible. So she told her about the story. I am wondering if I should write the story or not. Lemme see if I can summarize it. I should be able to. let’s go!
Now there’s this girl who attends the same school as her and happens to be our neighbour’s daughter so they come home together alongside other girls who take the same route when going home. This neighbour girl, by the way, is her junior at the school and I think a few months older but same age. On their way back, the neighbour girl let’s call her X and my cousin Y got into an argument with each other over Y’s sweater. X was throwing the sweater up and down together with another girl. Y told them to stop that she had washed the sweater and wouldn’t appreciate it kissing the dust (she’s slightly asthmatic by the way). X ignored it and kept doing what she was doing and couldn’t be bothered with Y’s concerns (isn’t that how bullies are? they can’t be bothered about how you feel. They just defy your emotions). So as it continued, Y kept telling them that if for any reason the sweater dropped that she wouldn’t pick it or take it back without X washing it and bringing it over to our house (I personally liked this part). Well, X just ignored her and told her: “And so? if it falls it falls. You will pick it up!”. Verily Verily! the sweater dropped and Y just walked on without a word to them. X told her to come back and pick it up and when Y didn’t listen and kept walking home, X told her that it would remain where it fell if she didn’t pick her sweater and kept following behind! WHAT NONSENSE! I was livid when the story got to this part. The girls had crossed several junctions before the other girl playing with X decided to run back to pick the sweater and ran behind them to give the sweater back to Y seeing that X and Y were serious about not picking the sweater.
Now the story didn’t end there. It resulted in the real reason why my cousin was upset. X decided to.. or no scratch that DARED to keep malice with my cousin. She started giving her the silent treatment on Monday as they walked back home. So my cousin was worried and withdrawn as that was her friend and she didn’t want to lose her trekking partner. So this was a case of someone bullying and then resorting to emotional blackmail to make the other feel like they owe them an apology! Well, we talked about how to handle it and all was well.
Now, I am going to give my personal opinion. It may not be popular but I think it would do. And let me tell you in advance, if you are expecting to read that I will ask you to accept bullying because you are a Christian and just walk away then ha! This is not the right place to find it. In short, you will neither hear nor see it. So with that being said, let’s proceed. I may have to break it in parts if it is too long.
Trash the Fear: This sounds like an obvious but it is the highest truth you can hear on the matter. Bullies like wild animals can sense fear in you. 2 Timothy 1:7 gives you the way forward. God has not given us the spirit of fear or timidity instead the spirit that God gives is the sort that fills you with power, love, and self-control. The power should intoxicate you enough to make you bold. No bully is bolder than a person who is filled with the power of God. Bullies are not powerful people. They are just worthless, weak individuals trying to build their sense of worth off other people’s weaknesses. This applies to anybody. Even your boss at work. No exceptions. If you have to bully someone to feel powerful or to be feared then you really are a waste of space and time. I wish I knew then what I know now. Hebrews 13:6 again tells us that the Lord is your helper and that fear for bullies shouldn’t be your headache because they can do nothing to you. It says at the end: “What can man do to me?”. This just further reveals that bullies are weaker than you think. The ‘me’ in that passage comes in because you become powerful when the spirit of God is at work in you. You possess a superhuman power. That’s simply it. I don’t see how Spiderman would be afraid or worried if his only way of escape was a wall.
Take Courage: This is simple and God never tires of telling us how important courage is in winning life’s battles. Battles are won first in your mind and so if you are defeated in your mind already then there is very little help that can work. Courage darling! God said that to Joshua. QUIT walking about with a defeatist mentality. They are not bigger than you. If your boss is a bully and you address him with all boldness, two things will happen. It’s either he stops that nonsense because he will be so shocked or he fires you. Either way, you win. If he stops it, you would have won and if he fires you then he would have freed you from emotional abuse and made you free to seek better opportunities and trust me you will find it. It can even be God’s way of getting you out of a useless job or cutting you off from a toxic setting, relationship or friendship. The God I know will not chastise you for doing the right thing and speaking up courageously because God is courage embodied. He owns you; body, soul, mind and spirit and no one else is allowed to be in that space tormenting you. So if you leave a job or friendship or relationship because you will not tolerate bullying then best believe that God will find you a fancier opportunity. He will. No jokes. Just make sure you towed the Godly path like being polite as you speak. If you get fired because of your rude approach then sorry that’s on you.
Defend Yourself: Ouch! I stepped on toes. Some folks won’t like this but too bad we are moving ahead. Defend yourself. I will say it as many times as I need to for someone who needs this to hear the truth. I am tired of people making Christians look like a group of docile, passive, doormat-y kind of people. I don’t know the sort that exists now but I am not one of those. I will defend myself correctly. Please don’t take this to mean that you should go out and get a gun, cutlass or a club. I didn’t write that and I will not encourage it but this is what I will encourage you to know: There is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). There is a time to ignore bullies and walk away and a time to stand up to them vehemently and in a no-nonsense fashion. I am not the sort to tell you to turn a cheek in the face of danger. God forbid! Some bullying can be so extreme as to become physically dangerous and at that point, I expect that the common sense of survival instinct should kick in. If I were God (which thankfully I am not) if you die in that scenario without fighting back, I will deal mercilessly with you before sending you to heaven. Now, that being said, wisdom is profitable to direct (Ecclesiastes 10:10).
There are several bible verses for wisdom so lemme just leave a few here. Proverbs 4:6-7, Proverbs 15:24, Proverbs 24:14, Ecclesiastes 2:13. These ones will do for the matter. Ecclesiastes 10:8 was plain when it said that whoever breaks the hedge, the serpent will bite. When a person breaks a hedge, he is entitled to receive his reward accordingly. In other words, there is a limit to everything. This is very true. Everyone has a hedge and a tolerance range and there is only so much a person can or should take. Even the Bible warns of being overly and unnecessarily good that it becomes self-destructive. Learn to draw the mark (Ecclesiastes 7:16). Establish your boundaries to whomever right from the beginning and let people know that once they cross the line you will respond accordingly regardless of who breaches the hedge. Don’t be a doormat. Defending yourself includes speaking up, warning the person seriously (not in the way Eli warned his children. That’s not good enough. Even God was disgusted and punished him for that sort of weak warning. Warn and mean it! I call it the Federal warning), challenging the person, walking away from such environment, reporting the person and following up on the case, breaking off contact and a million other things apart from taking up arms. Please do not.
Let’s continue in the next part.