A video of a high school student beating up his classmate has gone viral this week. In an instant, sympathy and support poured out for the victim, while anger, condemnation, and endless threats were hurled at the culprit.

As of this writing, calls for retribution and punishment are ringing online. The students’ school was put under extreme pressure to act on the case to see heads rolling.

The irony of it all is that the call against bullying has eventually resulted in cyber-bullying. How do we solve a societal problem when we fight fire with fire? How do we right a wrong when people commit the same crime that they demand justice for?

We don’t want to drown you with numbers and figures on how rampant bullying has become in the campuses; a quick Google search will yield numerous results. We don’t just want to point out the negative effects of bullying to an individual and then stop at that; we’ve seen it (and maybe some have actually experienced it).

We want to get to the root of the problem and nip it in the bud. Maybe the answer lies not in crafting more rules or policies, but in seeing through the veil of superficial strength, because, the reality is, both the bully and the bullied need help.

To the Bullied

Words have been spoken. Punches have been thrown. The wounds run deeper than your skin; they cut through the soul. The words still sting, and the laughter and the mockery you’ve experienced still ring inside your head.

But the truth is no hurtful words or physical assault will ever diminish your worth as a human being. The insults spoken against you are all lies in light of what your Creator says about you.

  • You are very good. (Genesis 1:31)
  • You are wonderful. (Psalm 139:14)
  • You are loved with a love that lasts forever. (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • You are not alone. (Hebrews 13:5)
  • You are created for a great destiny. (Ephesians 2:10)

Let the voice of God be louder than the voice of the crowd that seeks to put you down.

A person whose identity, security, and self-worth are rooted in God can withstand any attempt at bullying. Hold on to your identity as God’s creation and, if you’re a follower of Jesus, as a child of God.

It is our hope that you find it in your heart to forgive those who have hurt you, knowing full well that releasing forgiveness heals your soul and sets you free from the bondage of their offenses. We hope that you will find that the bully who has hurt you is not the real enemy, but the devil that injects lies, sows hatred, creates divisions, and destroys relationships.

Nothing and no one shall ever separate you from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38,39), and God will give you the power to rise from being a victim to being a victor. You’re an overcomer!

Also, if you’re being bullied, don’t be afraid to speak up. Talk to your parents, approach the school authorities, and ask help from your friends. Protecting yourself from harm is not a sign of weakness. Who knows, but maybe the one who’s bullying you also needs immediate help?

If you need someone to talk to about this, send us a message and we will do our best to help you.

To the Bully

Here’s the tricky part: Sometimes, a bully doesn’t know that he or she is a bully. It’s probably safe to recognize that we all have the tendency to “bully” someone—to make people feel inferior and that we’re superior to them; to ridicule others because of their flaws; or to assert our power and influence over them.

To the bully,

We’re also here for you.

Maybe you’re aware or maybe not. But you somehow get a boost of your self-esteem whenever you feel superior over others. You take delight when people fear you, try to please you, follow your orders, or look up to you. So you assert yourself, display your power, and showcase your influence in order to get people’s respect.

Maybe you’re aware, or maybe not. But the people whom you have hurt have sustained a deep wound in their soul. Some have begun questioning their worth; others have considered dropping out of school; some might have actually thought of ending their life. All of these just so you can feel good about yourself, or just so you can show to everybody that you’re strong and that no one can put you down.

You also don’t like it, do you?

You weren’t like that when you were younger. But something happened that hardened your heart—hurtful words were spoken to you, you were abandoned, rejected, mocked, publicly humiliated, and yes, bullied.

Those experiences turned your tender heart into a stiff, unyielding heart—not wanting to be vulnerable, unwilling to trust, always needing to prove yourself and to assert your rights to avoid being victimized.

In the secret place, you’re hoping that someone would love you and accept you without the need to exert brute force or instill fear. In the deepest corner of your heart, you’re hoping that people would accept you for who you are. In your quiet conversations with yourself, you’re telling yourself that you only wanted to be respected, wanted, loved, and accepted.

We want to let you know that you are created in the image of your Creator.

You are valuable. People may have made you feel that you don’t matter and that your efforts are not good enough, so you launched yourself into a crusade to either rebel against them or to prove yourself. But, did you know that your value as a person doesn’t depend on what you do? You have an inherent value determined by your Maker. He formed you in His likeness and image. He thought of every detail of your being, every fabric was fearfully and wonderfully made. You are important.

You don’t need to prove yourself. You don’t have to strive for people’s validation just so you can feel good about yourself. Go back to God, your Maker, and He will tell you that He loves you and that you are always welcome to go back to Him.

When you understand that just like you everyone is created in the image of God, you will learn to value every human being and treat them with dignity and respect. When you understand how all people are made in God’s image, you’ll repent for how you’ve treated those you’ve hurt. It will even be good to make restitution when possible.

With the help of God and of the people who care for you, you will be able to overcome that area of brokenness and will be set free from the need for validation.

And hey, we’re here for you if you need someone to talk to.

To the Authorities

To all the parents, the kind of love and attention that our children receive at home play a huge role in the development of their emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. The bully and the bullied both need the same thing—affirmation, love, protection, and support, which they can get best from their parents. We may not know your unique challenges as a family, but it is our sincere prayer that you experience the all-sufficient love of Christ in order to help you fulfill your role as parents to the next generation. In Christ, all things hold together (Colossians 1:17); when you have Him in your family, He will hold you together.

To the school authorities, legislators, and anyone in position, bullying is a serious problem and must be addressed. It’s crucial that our schools are environments where students feel safe from physical harm, where they can freely speak up, and where issues will neither be swept under the rug nor blown out of proportion.

But it’s important to remember that while rules and legislation ensure protection against bullying, no amount of law or punishment could ever nip this issue in the bud. As they say, the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

The truth is this: Bullying is a heart issue. What people need to know is the transforming message of the gospel of Christ, telling us that we are deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully accepted, and complete in Him. What our society needs is an encounter with the truth that every person is created in the image and likeness of God, and that what we do for the least of our fellow human beings, we do to their Maker.

To the Christians, this issue should compel us to be more driven in reaching the next generation. The gospel is a message of hope, love, and transformation that will lead bullies to repentance; a message that will heal the bullied and the depressed; and a message that will transform society into the kind of world that God intended it to be.