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October is National Bullying Prevention Month and the focus is to unite communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. With over 3.2 million children and teenagers being identified each year as victims of bullying, the campaign was created to raise awareness among communities and families.
But bullying doesn’t just start or stop with kids. Adults are victims as well, with women ‘facing down’ other women in staggering numbers. According to information at bullyingstatistics.org the abuse tends to be more verbal than physical, but the behavior is nonetheless hurtful, damaging, and unacceptable. These women have become experts at what is called, ‘relational aggression’. According to authors Rachel Giese and Irene Levine, they don’t inflict pain with their fists, but they can inflict terrible emotional pain on their victims.
“The true character of a woman is revealed by how she treats people from whom she has nothing to gain.”
I struggle with the root causes of bullying and the ‘Mean Girl’ syndrome, and why our society continues to stand by and watch this despicable behavior escalate to record setting proportions. Why can certain individuals get away with mistreating others and how do we put an end to it?
“Why do we, as women, bring down other women, knowing how hard life can be for a woman?”
Society and cultural issues continue to build and feed the ‘Mean Girl’ mentality. There is an ever increasing sense of entitlement among women to mistreat others as a way to gain leverage and power. And if you don’t fit in, then you’re deemed unworthy.
God says not only are you accepted; you’re valuable. “You have been bought and paid for by Christ. You belong to Jesus. How much does that make you worth?”
And these ‘relational aggressionists’ use bullying to dominate you, embarrass or humiliate you, victimize you and exclude you from specific events.
And that’s why we should pay attention to these six words, ‘Meanness is a sign of weakness.’
Bottom line, the bully’s behavior is brought on by a lack of confidence, the inability to feel good about themselves, and the jealousy they experience fuels their desire to mistreat others. What we don’t realize is that often times the bully is facing a battle of their own, whether it be internal or external and many times spills over into their relationships with others. It’s also the old adage of, “I can feel good about who I am if I tear others down and make them feel worthless.”
What I love about God’s word is it brings truth, security, comfort, protection, and an abiding peace that only comes from Him. Ephesians 6:10-18 serves as an excellent reminder that when armed with God’s word we are strong and can withstand the enemy.
Proverbs 11:12-14 is also clear about our behavior. God hasn’t betrayed you, so don’t destroy another person with your words or actions.
12 Mean-spirited slander is heartless; quiet discretion accompanies good sense.13 A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence. 14 Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.
Let us pray in the days ahead for those who are victims of bullying and for those who are doing the bullying. May our Christ-like ways be a light for others to follow and may our efforts to end bullying make a difference.
I’ll be praying for you this week.