I'm getting bullied at school for my faith. What should I do?
Bullying has gotten a lot of press lately. There are heartbreaking stories of kids hurting themselves because they are bullied -- whether it be because of financial situation, homosexuality, obesity, or just because they aren't popular enough. In every circumstance, bullying is wrong. We don't hear too much about kids being bullied for their faith, but it's still a very real issue for many young people trying to live for God in a secular world.
If you are bullied for your faith, or for any reason, there are a couple things you should know before you take action.
- It is not your fault. No one has the right to harass you in any way for any reason.
- Bullies harass you because something was done to them that made them feel insecure about themselves, and they want you to feel like they do. Have you ever heard the expression "hurt people hurt people"? There is nothing wrong with you that makes you become a target for rude comments -- there's something wrong with the people who are treating you this way.
So, what do you do now?
- Pray. Ask God to tell you what you should do and give you the strength to do it. Pray for the people who are bullying you. Your prayer is a blessing they can't yet understand.
- Tell a trusted adult. If the bullying continues and you're afraid standing up to them might make it worse, tell your parents, teacher, youth pastor, or principal about your situation. They might be able to make the bullying stop. If they can't, they can at least tell you how to deal with it.
- Don't fall. Don't back down from your faith, and don't start a fight or treat the bully unfairly. If you confront him or her, do so in a non-threatening but firm manner.
Remember David, the small shepherd boy who was able to defeat the giant Goliath with one stone? Goliath was insulting David's people because of their faith in God. Yet with God on his side, David was able to do what seemed impossible. With God, you can do anything -- even overcome a bully. And while you're at it, hold your head high with the knowledge that your faith makes you stronger than human will.
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. (Proverbs 25:21-22)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5: 3-5)
Do you girls have any extra advice for this lovely reader?