Bullying has always been an issue. It became a forefront issue last year, when a string of young people committed suicide over the treatment they received from peers. I, like many of my youth pastor brethren (and sisteren) wanted to respond at the time, but God didn’t lead that way. It’s time now, though, so we started the Bully Beatdown series tonight. If you’re not familiar with the title, it’s a show on MTV that only nerds like myself watch. We’ll be talking about three types of bullying over the next few weeks: verbal, physical, and spiritual. We’ll talk about what each one entails and see what the Bible has to say about each. Last night, we started with verbal, and we ended right at 7:00 PM, at which time we observed a 5 minute silent prayer for families that have been affected by suicide and those contemplating it even now.
Here’s what happened.
As many of you know, bullying had its day in the spotlight towards the end of last year. It made headlines when it led to three young people committing suicide as a direct result of the poor treatment they received from their peers.
When I was a kid, bullying was strictly defined by physically bullying someone weaker than you. Even though I was small enough to fit into most backpacks, I was never bullied as a kid. On the contrary, I leaned towards being a defender. I fought bullies, mostly because they were usually messing with my older brother, who was a complete nerd when we were little kids.
We will be talking about the three listed on the slide over the next few weeks.
It involves repeated acts over time attempting to create or enforce one person’s (or group’s) power over another person (or group)
Whatever you do – or don’t do – to even those that you view as lesser people, you are doing it directly to God Himself. That goes for the good and the bad.
Why does the tongue have such potential for great wickedness? Luke 6:45 – out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. If our hearts are not right, our mouths will not be right. And that heart…Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart is desperately wicked when left in its normal state.
When we use our mouths for evil, whether it’s making fun of someone, disrespecting authority, lying, telling dirty jokes, saying things we’re not supposed to say, gossiping, etc., it shows everyone else the state of our heart: desperately wicked.
So two young boys make fun of Elisha, one of God’s servants. What happens? Two bears come out and tear them apart.
Of course, that’s not always God’s response to making fun of someone, but it seems from this story that He really does frown upon it, especially when you are making fun of Jewish pastors.
Let’s go back to James 3. Let’s read James 3:7-12.
He’s calling out hypocrisy here. He’s calling out inconsistency. We should not feel good about ourselves for how we speak about God when it isn’t consistent with how we speak of those created in His image.
Let’s look at more verses! Titus 3:2, James 4:11, and 1 Peter 3:10.