I was watching a programme last night about the effects of bullying, what amazes me is the number of people, who the rest of the world would consider beautiful/intelligent are somehow made to feel worthless and ugly by bullies and people who you think are your friends!

Jesus had some really strong words to say about “verbal abuse” he said ” if you call your brother a worthless fool you will be in danger of going to the fire of hell!”  When I first read this I thought “that’s a bit steep!”  I know there have been moments in the past where I have said something derogatory about someones nature/personality in anger, but being sentenced to hell!

Well if you read around the verse, Jesus encourages people to deal with issues, “don’t let the sun go down on your anger“, if you have an issue with someone, you will not be able to fully be free to relax/experience a great worship service as your mind will be dwelling on the person who has wronged you!  The Lord’s prayer says “forgive us as we forgive others”, it is an action! We cannot be passive about dealing with the past.

But when it comes to bullying, what is the deal? One time I was walking home from high school and someone hit me over the head with a piece of wood , it hurt, I refused to let them know it bothered me, and then when I got home, my parents reported it to the school, I identified the “perpetrator” but as he denied it and I couldn’t be 100% sure it was him, they got away with it. In my last year of primary school, one boy gave me no end of hassle, and he gave me a thump on the back (for no reason at all!!)  I had to request that he wasn’t in my class for high school, which worked till the GCSE year, and then the verbal abuse began again.

The problem with verbal abuse is that it can easily be dismissed as “having a joke” or “messing about”, even the “victim” thinks “Why can’t I just ignore the stupid comments!“.  That is exactly what most of the comments are! STUPID!  I wasn’t the tallest of my mates, so I got abuse for that,  if I said or did something that wasn’t right in class my “mates” would rib me about it!  I moved away from their desk, over to another as soon as I was able!

Now once again I am sitting here thinking, “people have had worse lives than me, suffered more physical/mental/verbal abuse”  so I am not expecting the “awww poor Phil!” etc etc. But, I am trying to express where I am coming from!  What most of the bullies/perpetrators of abuse do not realise is that it is killing their victims inside, the number of people who have experienced a large amount of bullying/abuse who have contemplated committing suicide is immeasurable, fortunately for me and a vast number of “victims” we have had amazing support from family, one thing I will never forget being said to me by my brother was “they are the losers, you have Christ, whatever happens you are going to heaven!

My schoolmates used to invite me go out and do stuff but I always made up excuses, only once did they “trick” me into going to the cinema with them to see Gladiator, I said I had to look after my little sister, but they told me they had already booked the tickets (they hadn’t! The cheeky beggars! lol), someone else was able to look after my little sister and I went.  But in hindsight, its no wonder I didn’t want to, I had enough of their abuse from high school and one of the last times I did go out to the park with them they tried to chuck my BMX bike in the river! Is that what friends do?  Why would I put myself in that situation out of choice?

So, what is my point?

  • Bullies may appear stronger, smarter and more attractive but inside they are weaker, dumber and ugly-hearted!
  • If you know that you have ridiculed others, in jest or even knowingly wanting to make them feel worthless, then you probably have had an effect on the person you said it to!
  • Those who have suffered abuse will eventually have to deal with it at some point, a lot end up receiving counselling, some end up in mental institutions and some even succeed in committing suicide!
  • If you bottle up hurts and don’t deal with the person who is upsetting you, they will never know, if it’s a work colleague, go to the boss. At school- tell a teacher/lecturer, most schools are now zero-tolerance with bullying.  If it’s a partner/friend/acquaintance, tell them they are “out of order” and walk away! No one needs to be in a relationship with someone who is making you feel worthless and ugly!

It may not feel like it at the moment but in time you will find that the struggles you go through, make you stronger and rightly or wrongly shape your future!  I encourage you to look at the positive, God made you a gifted, beautiful person, you are an image of him!  Jesus was beaten, humiliated and rejected by the people who he loved, lived and ate with!  He knows what you are going through, he went through it too!

I know for me, nothing gives me more strength to go on and live my life in a postive way than the knowledge that God created me and he has a purpose for me, which I am still striving to work out!

The last word has to go to Christina Aguilera and her song Beautiful, whatever is said in negativity about you remember you are beautiful to at least one person- GOD!

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