Dealing with Teen Bullying

Webster’s Dictionary defines a bully as someone who is a blustering, browbeating person that is especially and habitually cruel to others who are weaker or perceived to be weaker. It is a person who increases in joy and feels empowered when they cause another person pain and anguish. I bet you are thinking right now while reading this definition that you are relieved that you are not this bully Webster defines, and if you’re a parent, you are exhaling a sigh of relief that your child is not a bully. My question is, how can you be sure that your current thought is the truth and not fiction?

Our society in general is full of bullies cloaked in the innocence of teasing, pranks, spreading rumors, and cracking jokes at the expense of others. Movies, TV shows, and other forms of online entertainment encourage viewers to do anything, no matter the cost, not to be the odd one out. Our thoughts surround the belief that there is strength in numbers regardless of the cost to the broken hearts around them. That is where the lie we buy into slowly wears down our individuality, and we become a carbon copy of another. No thought is our own. No idea is unique. We in essence become the bully by quietly standing by and participating in the destruction of another person. Just as guilty. Just as responsible.

In Galatians 5:22-23, we read of the Fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is evidence of a changed heart. They are attributes that all who call themselves Christians are expected to strive for in life. We are to show love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These attributes show the world that we Christians are unique and different from the world. If you read these verses for yourself, you will find that no one is excluded from this expectation. Parents, teachers, students are all required to strive for these attributes on a daily basis. If you strive for these, and if you achieve them, you will quickly see that a bullying culture cannot survive when the fruit of the spirit is primary.

For a moment, I would like to address the bullied, because they are the heroes in this blog. You are not alone. I know you may feel alone. I know you feel that this season you are struggling through is all you are ever going to know. I sit here to tell you that this is simply not true. This season is making you stronger than you can ever imagine. While others are looking for their questions to be answered by another, you are finding your own. You are developing the uniqueness that will make you stand out in the future and be successful. Your struggle will make you empathetic toward others and give you insight into the human heart that so very few possess in this day and age. Psalm 139 was my “go to” when I was growing up. It reminded me that I was uniquely and wonderfully made. Reading these verses reminded me that I was meant to be here, quirkiness and all.  God Himself created me piece by piece. He made me intentionally.  He made you intentionally, not by accident and not by mistake.

To those who bully and to those who realize now that their silence is an acknowledgement that bullying another person is fair and justified, things can change. You can change if you desire to do so. All it takes is for one person to stand up and say, “This is not okay.” As more people lead by your example, your group becomes stronger and larger. By sheer numbers and determination, you can push the culture of bullying out the front door. God made you unique, wonderful, and full of potential. Why waste all of your talent in hurting another?