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What does the Bible say about stalking?

Bible stalking
Question: "What does the Bible say about stalking?"

Stalking is the repeated following, watching, or harassing of another person with the intent to instill fear or gain unwarranted attention. In recent years, lawmakers have sought to more precisely define and attach a penalty to stalking, but, because stalking involves a pattern of otherwise legal activity, and the motivation of the stalker is not always clear, prosecution is often difficult.

Stalking is usually preceded by an obsessive interest in another person. That interest may be positive or negative. For example, a man may become infatuated with a co-worker and shower her with unwanted gifts and phone calls even after she has asked him to stop. She may rightly interpret his attention as stalking. Although his motives may seem positive to him, they are interpreted as negative by her. Conversely, a man may believe he was treated unjustly by a co-worker and stalk that person as a way of exacting revenge. Calling and then hanging up, driving slowly past the house, or following a person are all ways a stalker may create fear.

The Bible does not directly discuss stalking, but we can apply many of its principles to discover the biblical perspective. A common theme in Scripture is that we are to treat others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Stalking is the opposite of the behavior Christ commanded. Despite what an enamored would-be suitor may think, stalking his obsession is not love. Romans 13:10 says, “Love does no harm to a neighbor.” Instilling fear, apprehension, or aggravation in someone is to do her harm.

It could be said that Satan is a stalker. First Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Satan and his demons stalk human beings as a lion stalks prey, searching for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in order to exploit, tempt, and destroy (John 10:10). Satan’s incessant pestering, suggesting, threatening, and lying are all traits of a stalker. He studies us against our will, shows up at the worst times, and badgers us with fears, doubts, and temptations.

The Bible’s method for responding to satanic stalking is to resist the devil (1 Peter 5:9; James 4:7). We resist by first recognizing that we are under attack and then standing firm on God’s Word (Ephesians 6:10–17). We refuse to be bullied by our enemy. We may not be able to stop Satan’s stalking, but we can take strong measures to ensure he does not defeat us. That’s what Jesus did (Matthew 16:23). We can do the same with human stalkers. When we recognize we are being stalked, we can take strong measures to make it stop and then refuse to allow the stalker to intimidate us. We work with proper authorities to eliminate the stalking (Romans 13:4), check our own habits and practices to make ourselves as safe as possible (Ephesians 5:15), and then resist the stalker’s attempt to control us by refusing to give in to fear (Ephesians 6:10).

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