This deliberate, aggressive and threatening behaviour is intended to cause pain or discomfort. It involves a power imbalance that is often based on nationality, status, physical size, age or gender. When bullying becomes a pattern of behaviour it can lead to fear and anxiety in the victim, with depression and even suicide in extreme cases. Such abusive behaviour is ungodly and Christians need to be sensitive to such situations. There are four main forms: emotional (also called relational or psychological), verbal, physical and cyber (which is inflicted by electronic means). Cyberbullying (also known as online bullying as it uses social media) has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers, as the digital sphere has expanded and technology has advanced.
There are two types of situations where they may need to respond, either as the victim or as a witness to bullying. When being bullied, rather than attempting to retaliate the right response may be to withdraw from the situation (if possible) or to turn the other cheek and speak blessing on the perpetrator thus overcoming evil with good (Mt 5:38-42,44; 1 Pet 3:9). While the Christian response is to be loving and forgiving, this does not exclude holding others accountable for their inappropriate actions by standing up for our rights and those of others. We should not permit evil to continue unchallenged but verbally address the issue. This may be best done with the help of an independent facilitator to guide and help bring resolution. When we observe bullying we can intervene if this is considered the best approach, coming to the aid of the weak, otherwise we should immediately report it to the proper authorities so it can be dealt with through the correct social and judicial channels.
Unkind people need our love the most
while also maintaining solid boundaries to address their wrong behaviour. It is important to have a right attitude and pray for them as it is God who can bring healing, restoration and change while also allowing Him to minister His healing into our hearts if we have been the victim. The Bible's 'golden rule' instructs, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil" but instead, "Do to others as we would like done to us" (Lk 6:31; Rom 12:17,21). Christians are called to love others and to look out for those who are weaker, not to intimidate or manipulate people (Mk 12:31; Gal 6:9,10; Jas 1:27).