Bible Verses: Matt. 5:43-48, 7:12; I Cor. 13:4; Eph. 4:29-32; I John 4:7-8

Core Verse: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

Understanding Bullying:

What is bullying? Bullying by definition is the “use of superior strength or influence to intimidate”. You can find bullies at school and even in youth group. There are times when teens bully each other without even noticing it. An older kid can pick on a younger kid and think that they are just horsing around. Someone who is smarter can make fun of a comment made by someone else and they are just trying to be funny. We also live in an age where we have to watch out for cyber bullying. There are times that teens are intentionally bullying others.

Why does a teen bully someone else? A teen might feel insignificant, so they pick on someone else to show that they matter. A teen might be bullied and find it necessary to inflict that pain on someone else. A teen might be bullied and then think that’s how it ought to be. When they get older, they will bully someone else who is younger (initiation). A teen might feel like this is the only thing that they can control in their life.

Whatever the case may be, a bully is someone who views their world as the most important world in their life. They focus their attention on getting pleasure from other people’s pain. They do what feels good to them, no matter the consequences.

In counseling this bully (if they are in your youth group), bring them to Matthew 7:12. This might sound like an overused phrase, but you can ask this bully if they believe that Jesus meant these words and if these words are meant for this bully. Talk to them about the 2 greatest commandments in loving God and loving others (Matt. 22). Explain how there is no room for forcing your will upon others, if our goal in life is to love God and love others. Ask good questions. What does your relationship with God look like (if they have one)? What do you think the other person is thinking when they are being bullied? Are they thinking, “Wow, this bully really loves Jesus”? What are you trying to get out of bullying others? Why does it make you feel good, putting others down?

If this bully is not a part of youth group, you will most likely have to train your teens in how to handle bullies. Teens need to learn to stand up for what is right. If teens see someone bullying someone else, they need to intervene in some way. Here are a few practical ways to help someone out, if they are being bullied.

Go talk with the bully. Ask them questions about their day, homework, or the latest sporting event. This will give time for the victim to leave the situation. Go talk to the victim. Ask them to come with you because you have some questions for them. This will provide them with a way out, without having to run away. Go tell an adult. Adults have authority and therefore can do a better job at not only stopping the bullying right there, but also talk to the bully’s parents and/or other authority. Gather a few friends together to go and tell the bully to stop. Our desire is to stop bullying. Our greater desire is to help the bully see that they need Christ. That will be the only thing that will cause that bully to stop. Their love for the Lord must trump their love for themselves. In this process it is likely that the one who tries to stop the bully will be reviled by that bully or others. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Just because you are bullied, that doesn’t mean that you are being persecuted on Jesus’ account. When we are striving to bring a bully to Christ and get bullied ourselves, we may rejoice and be glad!