Recently, I had a conversation with a young person in our Church and asked her, “What do you think is the biggest issue facing young ladies at the moment?”
I expected her to say drugs, alcohol, or something of that nature. But her response surprised me, “Bullying.”
I later found out that I shouldn’t have been surprised. On doing some very brief preliminary research, I found the following:
- 27% of Australian students report being bullied
- 64% of girls in High School experience cyber-bullying
- Peers are onlookers in 87% of bullying cases.
These are startling statistics and they reveal just how big an issue bullying is in our community.
As a Church, if we are to truly mean “Every Person Is Important To God” then we must speak into this epidemic.
At NightChurch on 25 January 2015, I preached on the issue of bullying and while I can’t go into all of that in this blog post, I want to just share a few thoughts.
1. If you are a bully: STOP! It’s as simple as that. You are dishonouring Christ when you bully and you dishonour the image of God in your victim.
2. If you are being bullied: Pray for the person bullying you and, if possible, remove yourself from the situation. Look for good supportive people around you to help you, seek advice, and don’t believe the hurtful things the bully says about you. You are made in the image of God, loved by Him and created for a purpose. If you love the Lord Jesus, you have been saved to be a prince or princess of Almighty God – you are not what the bully says you are.
3. If you are an onlooker: where possible and safe, step in and speak up for those being bullied. Proverbs 31:8 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Don’t stand by while someone else is suffering. Jesus stepped into this World for us. We can pass that love on to others.
4. If you are friends or family of someone being bullied: Support them, speak life and value into them. Help them process what’s going on and build resilience into them.
5. For the Church. We must speak into the problem of bullying. We must be a place where it is safe and there is never any bullying. We must be a place where no one is ostracized or run-down. We must be a place where we live out of values of love, grace, mercy, fellowship and peace.
Bullying is a major problem in our community at the moment. It occurs in schools, workplaces, homes, marriages, churches and clubs. We have an opportunity as the community of Christ’s people to do more than just look on. We can be the alternative! Will you take your place?