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How should a Christian respond to bullying?


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Question: "How should a Christian respond to bullying?"

Although we do not find the word bullying in the Bible, we do find the word brutish, a synonym of the brutal thuggery associated with thieves, assassins, and savage beasts (Psalm 49:10; Proverbs 12:1; Isaiah 19:11). The Hebrew and Greek words translated “brute” or “brutish” mean “stupid, foolish, and irrational, as cattle.” We can derive from this that those who bully are acting as cattle or other beasts incapable of rational thought. It is, unfortunately, not uncommon to see this type of abhorrent behavior in fallen man—even in the church—in both males and females throughout all life stages.

Sadly, Christians are not immune from attacks by brutish bullies. In fact, Christians are often more likely to be victims. Some people use Jesus’ command to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39) to attempt to say that we should not stand up to bullying. However, the “slap on the cheek” that Jesus mentions refers to an insignificant personal slight. The principle is that a Christian should be able to overlook personal insults or minor affronts to himself. Jesus is not speaking of ignoring justice or letting a bully have his way.

Christians are not denied the option of self-defense, and they can and should stand up to bullying. If a husband loves his wife (Ephesians 5:25), he should defend her. The same can be said about his responsibility to his children and other loved ones. Where the bullying of children is involved, it is the parents’ responsibility before God to protect their children and remove them from situations where they may be in danger.

“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40). The Bible says believers are to love God with everything in them, so they can produce good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and apply the Golden Rule to others. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus reveals that the heart of a true neighbor is one that shows mercy, even to one’s enemies. So, Christians are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), first being sure their own hearts are pure before God.

Recommended Resource: The Gift of Forgiveness by Charles Stanley

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How should a Christian respond to bullying?

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