In the 1945 movie, “Bells of St. Mary’s” Bing Crosby played a Jesuit priest overseeing a Catholic school. When bullying occurred as it does among boys, Sister Benedict provided boxing lessons for the boy being bullied. The confidence boost for the young man equipped him to stand firm against the bully upon the next encounter. Through their battle the boys grew up a bit and established a mutual respect for each other, for their teacher and for the school.
A bully by definition is a person who hurts, frightens or intimidates those who are smaller or weaker. One in five students admit to having bullied their peers. About 77% of students have admitted to being the victim of one type of bullying or another; 42% of kids have been bullied while online; and 35% have been threatened online. There are often commonalities between the bully and the one being bullied – each may reflect a weakness in self-identity and immaturity in character.
History of bullying: Cain bullied Abel and killed him – Gen.4:8; Joseph was bullied by his brothers and sold into slavery – Gen. 37:28; Elijah was bullied by Jezebel – 1Kings 19:2; Nehemiah was bullied by Sanballat – Neh.4:7-8; Daniel was bullied by the satraps – Dan. 6:3-9; Jesus was bullied by the Pharisees – John 8:13-16(below); Apostles were bullied by the Sadducees – Acts 5:17-18; Tyndale and other Bible translators were bullied by the Catholic Church and the Pope. Bullying has been going on a long time and it will continue. The history lesson is that each example involved men that were well grounded in who they were and Whose they were. They knew where they belonged and where they were going, thus the bullies were never granted the power they sought.
The Word on BULLYING is: The Pharisees challenged Him, “Here You are, appearing as Your own witness; Your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on My own behalf, My testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, My decisions are right because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, Who sent Me.” – John 8:13-16
- The Pharisees were bullies in Jesus’ day with their righteous, pious attitude. They used their clout with the community and the Roman Empire to intimidate Jesus and His followers at every opportunity. Jesus, and subsequently each of His disciples exemplified how to stand firm against threats with complete confidence in who they were and Whose they were, where they belonged and where they were going.
The state of family today, with half of all marriages failing and over forty percent of kids growing up without a dad involved, has shaken the grounding and confidence needed to deal with bullying. Furthermore, in two-parent homes where both the dad and mom are working outside the home, there often is not the time or energy to address challenges kids face on a daily basis. Bullying ends up being granted more power than it deserves. Its impact in turn generates a lot of interest in “fixes” to be implemented in schools and even workplace situations.
The solution to the vast majority of bullying situations is a home situation that raises a generation grounded in who they are and Whose they are, confident in where they belong and where they are going.
Prayer guide:Lord, thank You for the many gifts and blessings in my life, especially the children You have given my wife and I the opportunity to raise. Guide us in grounding them well in Your Word and in Your love with the discipline that is You in our lives. Equip me to stand firm against the forces that work to distract me from being the man, husband and father You expect me to be. Amen.
A faithful father is emotionally engaged and spiritually equipped to address bullying.
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