Bullying

UnstoppableI wish this were not so: Bullying is real.

This is a hot-button issue for me, because there is something in my personality that gets fired up by a bully, more than almost any other issue. Bullies are truly cowards, but to the one being bullied at school or at work, that doesn’t seem true. Many times someone getting bullied feels they are all alone, which is why others need to be aware and step in to help.

In his book Unstoppable, Nick Vujicic talks about when he was bullied at school (you can read my book review of Unstoppable by clicking here). He then offers a list of symptoms to be aware of in someone close to you.

Common signs that someone is the victim of bullying include:

  • Increased reluctance to go to school or work events that peers attend
  • Refusing to discuss the day’s events upon coming home
  • Torn clothing, unexplained injuries, and stolen items
  • Asking for extra money to take to school
  • Carrying weapons to school
  • Reporting headaches, stomach problems, and nervousness before leaving and upon returning home
  • Reporting an inability to sleep or having bad dreams
  • Increased problems concentrating
  • Major changes in eating habits, either more or less
  • Little or no social interaction with peers
  • Self-harming through cutting, scratching, hair pulling, and other means
  • Appearing fearful to leave the house
  • Running away from home
  • Sudden drop in school or work performance
  • Dramatic darkening of mood before leaving and upon returning home
  • Negative and self-critical expressions

From his personal experience, Nick also offers this wise advice—

If you are a victim of bullying, remember that the most important battle you must win is the one within. What someone else says or does to you should never define who you are. God created you for a purpose. You have value in His eyes. Put your faith in that, and then put that faith into action by rising above any criticism, gossip, or abuse that happened in the past. You were perfectly made by God. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. A bully wants you to believe that you are less than you are, because putting you down makes the bully feel superior. You don’t have to play that game. Focus instead on building upon your gifts. God will take care of the rest. Joy and fulfillment will come as you walk the path created for you and only you.

If someone is bullying you at school or at work, please tell someone close to you. Trust me: they want to help you!

Let’s be aware of these telltale signs in those we love, and then step in to help where needed. A great resource to help you navigate the nasty world of bullying is The Jeremiah Project 51. Please click on the link and check out their resources.

Fuller Love

Fuller loveLove is not always flowery and sweet, where everyone gets along, and no one is ever mean or even unkind. Actually that’s not love; that’s selfishness. You’re saying, “I will love you because it makes me feel good. I get something special out of this when I am kind and loving to you.”

The ancient Greeks had different words for love. Whereas we use love for food (“I love my pasta”), and the same word for special people (“I love my wife”). But we all know that I’m not really saying my wife and a plate of spaghetti are on the same level.

So the Greeks had a word for love for the inanimate (like food and music), and a word for this-makes-me-feel-so-good (like sex and alcohol), and a word for treating someone humanely or kindly (sometimes called brotherly love). These are well-known loves, but they are very fragile. The law of diminishing returns says that each time I experience one of these loves, its ability to please me the next time is slightly reduced, until at one point this thing/person no longer satisfy me at all. In fact, they may even cause my stomach to churn in nausea.

But there was one more word the Greeks used for love, that the biblical writers used almost exclusively. This word (agape) is not tuxedos and dancing gowns and chandeliers. This love shows up in work clothes, with callouses on its hands and knees, because it’s determined to serve someone else no matter what!

This is the kind of love God exhibited toward us—God shows and clearly proves His own love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

And this is the kind of love Jesus commanded us to exhibit toward others… even toward those we think are unloveableBy this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another…. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” do that. (John 13:35; Luke 6:32-33)

This is the kind of full love that those apart from Jesus Christ do not know, but they can see it and be drawn to it if Christians will demonstrate it. Henry Drummond said this—

Never offer men a thimbleful of gospel. Do not offer them merely joy, or merely peace, or merely rest, or merely safety; tell them how Christ came to give men a more abundant life than they have, a life abundant in love…. Then only can the gospel take hold of the whole of a man, body, soul and spirit. …Only a fuller love can compete with the love of the world.

Let’s show the world a fuller love, and in so doing we will show them Jesus!

I will be continuing my series on Loving The Unloveable next Sunday. Please join me!

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