So the “gossip girl” in your class has her clique out to get you. Each little comment bites like fangs from a cobra. The threatening looks are like a thousand daggers enclosing your being.
The “ugly upperclassmen” and his buds get a frequent laugh out of making you look like a fool…Not to mention the constant smacks on the head, shoves in the back, knocking stuff out of your hands, and posting insulting lies on Facebook.
Or it’s the “jock-jerk” that pretends you’re invisible. If you offer him your piece of pizza, he is happy to take it expectantly without a “thanks.” Then, when you try to say “hi” or have any level of conversation, you’re completely ignored. Like a mosquito, you may get a simple swat to move or shut up. And when opportunity arises, Mr. Jock-Jerk smears your reputation in the dirt to elevate his status.
For these and the hundred other bullying situations that are much worse, what should you do?
Let me give you some simple steps to take when being bullied. They may vary depending on the level of intensity and the situation you are in, but for many it will get you started:
- Pray. Pray to God (Psalm 5:2) for strength for yourself. Pray for the one who is mistreating you. Obviously this person is not honoring God in his or her life. This person, by hurting you, is directly disobeying his/her Creator – that puts this person in deep trouble with God. Pray for God to change this person’s heart.
- Fear not. (Don’t LOL or click me off, hear me out). For the one who knows Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, He is with you. He can and will help you through the situation (1 Corinthians 10:13). Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.” The Psalms are also full of times people cried out to God for help and recognized God as their strength and help in time of need. Do not allow yourself to worry and fear and dwell on all the words said and actions done against you, or dwell on the “What if’s.”
- Get help. Tell someone you trust. You are not in this alone. You have help. Talk to one or both of your parents, a pastor, a teacher, a coach, a club leader, a school guidance counselor. God has designed authorities to help protect and direct your life (Romans 13:1-4).
- Refuse to bully back. Hard, it is (a little Star Wars Yoda lingo). This is different than defending yourself if someone comes at you with a knife or gun…that’s another level. God is clear in Romans 12:17-21 that He will deal with the one doing wrong; and that He does not want the one to whom wrong is done (victim) to go after and try to harm the one who initiated it.
- Do good to the bully. I may lose some here, but this is where you (as the one mistreated/bullied) may actually get the opportunity to genuinely help another human being who desperately needs help. It’s up to you. But God’s Word says in Romans 12:21 that you can overcome evil with good. When people do good to those who mistreat them, there is an amazing power that God gives in that. It catches the person way off guard. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, is the ultimate example of one who endured every kind of ridicule and bullying, yet did not do wrong (sin).
So, whether it’s gossip girl, ugly upperclassman, jock-jerk, or any other person mistreating/bullying you, the reality is these people are hurting too. The bully doesn’t know how to handle life in the right way. You have the opportunity to show him/her how to handle difficulty, pain, and hurt by following these five steps.
Parents reading this – If you think bullying is not serious or does not exist, you may want to check out some stats on the matter.