Hope for the Bullies


Are you a bully? The gospel offers forgiveness and a new start for even the worst offenders.

I doubt that any of us would actually label ourselves as bullies. No one sets out to be the mean girl at their school, church, or home. Even so, I bet there are some of you who are the source of pain, rejection, or violence in the lives of someone else.

Here are some quick questions to help you identify if you are a bully:

  • Does it make you feel better about yourself to talk badly about others?
  • Have you been bullied by someone in the past and you feel justified in doing the same thing to others to "even the score"?
  • Do you minimize the feelings of others when you say mean things to them, saying things like, "It's no big deal! I was just kidding"?
  • Do you frequently use sarcasm to entertain others, specifically cutting someone down to get a laugh?
  • When you play a sport or a game, do you always have to be the winner? Do you feel overly angry at your opponent when you don't win?
  • Do you get angry or jealous when someone else succeeds?
  • Do you frequently make negative remarks on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks—even anonymously?
  • Has anyone ever asked you to stop being mean to them?
  • Have you been blocked by someone online after writing unkind things to or about them?
  • Do you tend to focus on one girl to talk about, make fun of, or ignore?

We tend to think of bullies as that big kid on the playground that pushes the other kids around and wears a perpetual "I'm a bully" look on his face. But it's not always that obvious. If you answered "yes" to one or more of the above questions, it's possible that someone else feels bullied or picked on by you. Which means you have a choice: You can justify your actions or you can ask God to change you in this area.

Here is a sample of the messages for bullies in God's Word:

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15).

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Ps. 34:13–14).

There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers (Prov. 6:16–19).

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Mic. 6:8).

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Eph. 4:29).

Here's a review of the truth we find in just these five short passages:

  • God equates hate to murder.
  • Stay away from speaking evil or lies.
  • Pursue peace.
  • God hates liars and those who stir the pot.
  • God commands you to love kindness.
  • God asks you to use your words to build others up.

There is no room for bullying in these truths. If you are feeling convicted, my advice is to talk to God about it. Ask Him to show you where you've messed up in this area and to give you the courage to apologize. Then ask Him to refine your speech and to make you more like Him.

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