Bullying and the Bible
As any parent will tell you, bullying is a big problem for today’s kids. I was recently invited to share my thoughts on the subject in a blog post put together by Christianity Cove & the Children’s Ministry Academy as a part of a series of “Virtual Roundtables” on the subject of Bullying & the Bible. This is what I said:
While we don’t have any record of Jesus being bullied or mistreated as a boy, Jesus did speak to how we are to relate to those who are unkind and mean to us which applies to bullying.
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)
When someone mistreats us, the natural instinct is to feel anger, even hatred toward that person. But Jesus here points us to a much different response. You see, while we were enemies of God, He loved us by sending his only Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be forgiven. It is this same kind of undeserving love that Jesus tells us to extend to our enemies.
Every time a child is bullied, they need help in processing how to deal with the hurt, fear, and anger which result. When we take them to the gospel, we give them the opportunity to process what happened redemptively. What better way forward than to help our children understand that the world is filled with lost souls who need our prayers. What better hope for moving on from a bullying incident than pointing them to the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins and then inviting them to extend the same forgiveness to those who oppress us.
You can read the rest of the article to learn how 4 other children’s ministry leaders addressed the question of bullying at this link http://www.christianitycove.com/bullying-bible-victim/2104/.