Bullies Among Us!

When evil minds seek amusement from torturing the innocent

Jim Allen

Bullying is a topic that has come front and center in America. Innocent people of every culture, gender, and age are being forced to endure daily abuse by vile, twisted individuals who consider their kind of reprobate behavior a form of acceptable amusement. Bullying is not acceptable, and people are beginning to take a stand against it.

The following commentary to all bullies has been making the rounds on Facebook:
"The gay boy you punched in the hall today committed suicide. The girl you called a whore does not date; she is only 13 and now the object of sexual slurs. The boy you called lame works every night to help support his family; they are destitute. That girl you pushed down the other day is beaten frequently; her father is a drunk. That girl you called fat is starving herself; she cries unceasingly. The man with a disfigured face whom you mocked fought for your freedom—not for your right to shame him. So, you think you're smart and cute by what you say and do? Guess what? You're not! You're a disgusting stain on all that is good and decent in life." (paraphrased)
Centuries ago, Martin Luther foresaw what could happen if students did not keep the Word of God foremost in their studies. "I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of God's word becomes corrupt. Because of this we can see what kind of people they become in the universities and what they are like now... I greatly fear that the universities, unless they teach the Holy Scriptures diligently and impress them on the young students, are wide gates to hell." [1 ] Was Martin Luther correct?

Free State University published a study reporting that nearly one-third of its students conveyed that they had been abused at some point in the past [2]. The report went on to say that 95% of teachers and nearly 85% of students thought bullying was a huge problem touching just about every life in one way or another. [2]

Who among us has not been bullied in our youth or even as an adult? Most troubling are young children and juveniles who bear the emotional trauma from abuse in schools. Mature Christians may be able to turn the other cheek and simply walk away, unscathed by it all (Matthew 5:39), but for those without that level of faith, can anything be done to stop this mindless torture? Though we use all the conventional methods of dealing with bullying, it continues. We call parents, notify teachers, meet with pastors, set up special classes, and sometimes confront the aggressor in person. Yet the behavior still continues!

While these approaches are marginally successful at times, the resourceful bully (having been disciplined and warned) simply reinvents himself by strong-arming one of his cohorts into taking his place. Bullies may be creatively evil in finding ways to hurt people, but victims sometimes find ways to fight back by being equally creative, as the following true story from a Got Questions supporter reveals.
A boy, about the age of ten, befriended two other boys about the same age. All lived in the same neighborhood. The two boys were identical twins and, unknown to the boy, had a reputation for being your friend one day and enemy the next. After school, the twins, who went to a different school, would occasionally wait in ambush for the 10-year old on his way home. The boy could not outrun the twins, and when caught, he endured punching, kicking, pushing, and name calling. Going home bloodied and bruised, the boy's mother called the twins' mother who replied, "Boys will be boys!"

Sensing no help from his mother, the boy had an idea. He approached his older brother with a daring plan to teach the twins a lesson. The plan would be executed in a grassy field separating his house from their house. One day, the twins were outside playing ball, and the young boy, standing in the middle of the grassy field, yelled something about their low level of intelligence. The twins, becoming furious, ran toward the boy with revenge in mind. The boy, having second thoughts about what he just said stood firm, clenched his fists, and did not cower.

Just as the twins approached to inflict serious bodily injury, the boy turned around and jumped over his big brother hunkered unseen in the grass. While the twins displayed athletic prowess by stopping on a dime, it was too late. Big brother forcefully grabbed both and taught them a lesson not soon forgotten. Although the twins were forbidden to play with the boy, at least for a while, they wisely never bullied him again. Both knew his big brother could be hiding anywhere, ready to defend in an instant .
Was the 10-year old wrong to devise a plan that would teach two bullies a lesson? Was he driven by self-preservation or cunning revenge (Romans 12:19)? Or, did God intervene and implant the daring plan in the boy's mind as a way to stop the abuse (Proverbs 19:21)? We may never know.

Nevertheless, I must admit I like how this true story ended. The story illustrates the fact that bullies are most assuredly not as cute and smart as they'd like to think. The problem foreseen by Martin Luther is more real than he might have ever imagined. While bullying in school is discussed most often, it survives at every level in society. Bullying has a taproot that reaches to the pit of hell, and its fruit is like nasty bacteria crawling over and hiding in every crevice of human life.

The essence of this true story tethers to a biblical principle about Godly protection for the faithful. In the spiritual realm, we have a close connection to the One who is like a powerful older brother . He is our protector—unseen, divine, and willing to step between you and the bullies you face in the world. He may even teach them a lesson or two (Proverbs 19:21; Romans 12:19).

Although we cannot control the bullies of the world or fully shelter our children from what they may be subjected to in school, we can always turn to God, knowing He is able and willing to stand between the evil minds that resolve to harm you and your loved ones (Psalm 91:1-16).

[1] Three Treaties by Martin Luther (1520)
[2] "Bullying in our Schools" (Paraphrased)

Image Credit: Renee Barron; "untitled"; Creative Commons

comments powered by Disqus
Published 3-22-13