Below are some additional interactions on the article: I’ll Hurt You!. Read it first.
Being aware of the reason for someone’s actions is often the first step toward change. If you think you may be a bully, talk with an adult about your concerns and hurt, and, remember, God is there for you too. Take a moment and tell him what you think about yourself. How you see yourself in the mirror (both literally and figuratively) He sees you as his precious beautiful child and you can be certain of his love for you!
“For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The thought of my pain, my homelessness, is bitter poison.
I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed.
Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing:
The LORD‘s unfailing love and mercy still continue,
Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.
The LORD is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.
The LORD is good to everyone who trusts in him,
So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us—
And it is best to learn this patience in our youth.
If you take a look around the web it’s hard to find things from the perspective of a bully. That can be pretty frustrating if this is something you struggle with and are trying to understand more. Here is an article written by a man who in his younger years bullied others and now reflects on his understanding of why and how bullies come to be. Consider as you read this, how a relationship with Jesus Christ changes “the game.” God loves you and promises to take your life and heal, renew, and restore you to his original purpose.
This is what God says about you and your future:
“I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11
Reflections of an Ex-Bully
By D. Brian Burghart
This article was published on 08.18.11. on newsreview.com
I’m a bully. Reformed. I was bullied. In fact, in the small town in Nebraska where I grew up—I’m 49 now—I feel I lived in a culture of bullying and violence. And it started young, with parental corporal punishment a simple fact of life. I was a weirdo from day one, and I think that the other kids (and adults) sensed that I rarely felt at ease.
Bullying, from my point of view, is about power. It’s about the powerful exerting their influence through abusive actions to force the less powerful to conform. “Less powerful” can mean smaller, shyer, nicer, heavier, weirder, more sensitive, smarter, effeminate or butch—any individual who doesn’t fit into the bully’s unbridled definition of acceptable normality. That’s why the new kid sometimes gets bullied. He or she is outside the bully’s experience, and therefore different by nature. It is truly nothing personal.
This is the first point: Bullies are not born. They are created by other bullies.
The bully culture is underpinned by the American culture of survival of the fittest. Schools are almost without exception designed to create a hierarchy, a rich environment for bullying to take place. First, there are the teachers who are tasked with keeping order and have wide latitude in how they enforce discipline and correct behavior. Some of the emotional and physical abuse I suffered at the hands of teachers—one nun in particular—would probably get the teacher jailed today. But often, those teachers and coaches set the stage for other bullies by singling out a student for “socialization,” insinuating that the other students exert peer pressure to bring the student into line.
But children and young people do not understand social indoctrination, and I don’t think most have the self-awareness to understand how their own behavior affects others. This includes both the bullies and the bullied. As insane as it may sound, bullies often think they are helping the people they bully.
Here’s an example: In the hierarchy of high school, seniors are larger physically, have more experience fitting in, and have more hormonal control than younger students, particularly freshmen. They are tasked by adult administration and teachers, sometimes tacitly, sometimes overtly, with showing the younger students how to act. My school had a formal night where the seniors took the freshmen out and treated them poorly, although I think the tradition died the year after I took part. Seniors only have their own experience to inform them how to get particular behavior out of their subordinates. And in this structure, it’s likely they suffered someone who was better at getting an action though violence, teasing and threats.
All this creates fear and uncertainty. Younger students never know when their behavior is going to be corrected or even which behavior or unchangeable aspect of their looks or personality is going to be judged wanting.
This is the second point: Bullies are afraid. This is true on a couple of levels. First, the bully was taught fear by parents, teachers, and older bullies. Second, there’s the fear of the “other” among the bullies—that new kid, for example. And the randomness of the bullying creates fear among the bullied, but more than that, it spawns a situation where the kid loses confidence in him- or herself, sometimes blaming themselves for the bullying they suffer. The problem is the things that are most likely to draw the bullies’ attention are completely outside of the bullied person’s control: No one can help their newness, their acne, their skin color, their knock-knees or perceived sexual orientation.
And the fear begets anger. The frustration caused by not knowing where, when or even why discipline is going to be administered creates a constant feeling of unfocused resentment—which can be exhibited in self-destructive behavior, acting out, and continuation of the bullying cycle.
I have never experienced the Facebook-bullying phenomenon, but I find discussions of it analogous to the relationship between a child and emotionally or physically abusive caretakers. When the bullying takes place at home and at school and on the cell phone, the student—for whom years are interminable—can lose hope. And those tragedies are the stories we are hearing and reading about so much these days.
For the parent of a bullied child or for the child, an awareness that bullying starts at the top of the systemic structure of schools, home and society may be enough to temper the horrible feelings of powerlessness and inevitable loss of self-esteem. The best way to combat bullying is to go after the teachers, coaches and administrators who generate the bully culture though approval or ignoring the bullying that goes on under their noses, and if the parent or student does not get relief, to move up the ladder. The answer to proactively combating bullying is constant awareness and training for administrators, teachers, parents and students.
Bullying’s effects are lifelong—even if it’s only the guilt someone carries about the torture they inflicted on others when they didn’t have the self-awareness or empathy to recognize that they were hurting others and themselves.
1 John 3:15
2 Timothy 3:1–5
1 John 2:9
1 Peter 3:8–9
Small Group Guide:
One of the biggest challenges, and the newest, facing kids today is online communication, namely cyberbullying. It’s tough to know when you’re crossing the line or when you’re actually a target. You don’t wanna seem like a whiner or like a fraidy-cat to your friends and family. If you aren’t sure where you stand (whether you’re nervous you’re the bully or the one being bullied) the best thing you can do is get the opinion of someone older and with more life experience like your parents, leader, or chaplain. You might feel a little uncomfortable but it’s worth it. They have a perspective that you may have never considered. Take a look at this video from ABC News and pay attention to what every older person thinks (regardless of whether or not they themselves are attractive)
Large Group Guide:
- If you’ve bullied someone in the last month, ask God to forgive you. Then go to them or write them a note telling them you’re sorry.
- Try talking to a trusted adult in your community about ways you have bullied others. Get their perspective on your actions and ask them to help you change your behavior.
- Sit down with a piece of paper or your computer and write down some things in your past that have hurt you that might be reasons for your bullying. Pray for God to reveal things to you. Can you think of a few things (like a parent who hit you, or a broken family where you felt blamed, or the loss of someone very special, or confusion about your new home, etc.) to write down? Find a youth leader or chaplain to open up to about this, and remember to thank God for showing these to you.
One of TVs most popular bullies right now is Sadie Saxton on MTVs Awkward. She is like a master samurai delivering her death-blows in one liners followed by her ever famous “You’re Welcome.” Despite how hilarious this character can be, if you watch closely you can see how much pain she is really in every day, and how she uses her humor and cutting observations to cover up her own fears and hurt. Now think for a minute about the things you do to cover up your own pain or insecurity. Make a list of 5 or more things and then pray over them. Ask God to help you remove them from your life and replace them with security in his love for you. He wants to heal you and help you see yourself the way he sees you. Take a look at these Scriptures to find out about God’s love for you and how he is with you through all things:
“He heals the broken-hearted
and bandages their wounds.”
“Do not be afraid—I am with you!
I am your God—let nothing terrify you!
I will make you strong and help you;
I will protect you and save you.”