It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the Bible does not mention bullying by name, but it certainly has a lot to say about the type of un-Christian behavior of which bullying is a part.
So, what is bullying?
Bullying is any kind of repeated behavior, which causes distress to the victim. It might be repeated physical attacks, it might be sustained verbal abuse or it might be protracted psychological manipulation, or it might be all three. Usually this behavior is intentional but in some cases it may be a learned behavior of which the perpetrator is largely unaware.
Why do people bully?
A bully is not a happy person, any pleasure they may get from bullying is fleeting and at its core, their behavior is driven by pain. Bullies usually have a profound sense of inadequacy, a lack of self worth; they are motivated by jealousy, by loneliness, by a sense that they are excluded from happiness. Often, bullies were themselves the victim of bullying and they enact this behavior on others as a means of self-preservation.
Bible verses about bullying
The first commandment is to love the Lord your God, the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. The problem for bullies is that they don’t love themselves.
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these’. Mark 12:31
If you are being bullied, how should you respond as a Christian?
Bullying is the cause of great misery, it has driven people to take their own lives, it can cause you to feel worthless, to feel that you are to blame, that you deserve this treatment; but the Christian is invulnerable.
‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.’ Psalm 46:1
No bully is a match for the protection of the Lord your God. Have faith and the bully’s actions will be as nothing.
‘But I say to you, 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.' Matthew 5:44
That is a tough instruction, but you know in your heart that it is right. Do not seek revenge, do not inflict physical or mental hurt or you risk becoming a bully yourself. Pray for your bully and ask the Lord for forgiveness on their behalf and that they might be guided by the Lord to right their wrongs.
‘A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.’ Proverbs 15:1
If you are a victim of bullying or a witness to bullying, speak out. Talk to your parents, talk to your teacher, talk to your pastor, talk to your boss, but most of all, talk to God. People of all ages and from all walks of life can be victims of bullying. As a Christian it is your duty to put an end to the bullying by seeking help for the bully.