What Would Jesus Do if Someone Were a Bully, or Was Being Bullied?
Bullying someone consists of behavior towards a person that cannot be justified by what is considered to be normal social conduct, and whose intent is usually to threaten, humiliate or harm another person, their personal property, their reputation, self-esteem and/or self-confidence. It can make people feel worthless, helpless and alone.
Just as Jesus would want to help a person learn how to stop bullying other people, he would want those being bullied to learn how to take a step back and try to understand why a bully is acting in such a way in the first place. Maybe there are some valid reasons, reasons that with a little understanding and help from others might start to fade and help a bully stop his harmful behavior.
Bullies Will Be Bullies
Coercive attention-seeking behaviors are ways of forcing others to pay attention when their ability to induce people to validate them is ineffective, according to the book “Born to Be Worthless: The Hidden Power of Low Self-Esteem,” by Kevin Solomons, M.D. This negative and destructive behavior tends to be self-destructive and maladaptive, Solomons goes on to say.
Contrary to what you might think, Jesus would not teach a person who is being victimized by a bully that the bully needs to change his ways, however. He lays the responsibility of extricating oneself from a bullying situation on oneself, and nobody else.
We have no control over how other people act. Only by changing ourselves can we change a situation like bullying. Otherwise, we always will feel like the downtrodden one, the victim. To change something like bullying, you must take action.
An Eye for an Eye
We all have heard the saying, “an eye for an eye.” This type of thinking translates into anger about the situation, and can quickly turn into wanting revenge. Exacting revenge brings us down to the bully’s level, making us no better than he is.
There is another saying we all have heard before: “Treat others the way you yourself would like to be treated,” and also, “turn the other cheek.” To reach a desirable end to bullying, we need to learn to make peace with our bullies.
Don’t shy away or have someone else face up to your bully for you. Deal with him directly. This will have a strong impact on your bully, and they will most likely have more respect for you for confronting them yourself. It takes courage to make such a move, but it is a big step in disarming your bully.
Bullies Could Be Taking it on the Chin, Too
If someone is bullying you, consider their behavior. Does he bully only you, or do others suffer your fate? If a bully’s behavior seems to be chronic, with most anyone he encounters getting a dose of his bad side, maybe it’s time to learn to turn the other cheek.
Bullies have feelings and needs as do all of us. Perhaps there is something missing, or painful, in your bully’s life and he doesn’t know how to express his feelings in any other way. Try to put yourself in his shoes and figure out what is rattling around in his head that is making him act so rough around the edges.
Show a little kindness, despite what you may have endured. You might be surprised that you are giving your bully the attention, consideration and validation he is looking for. While you may never end up being best friends, in time, the kindness you show your bully will sink in. He may begin to feel better about himself and start to lay off of his bullying ways.