Solution for Bullies.Some
weeks ago (March 2010), the TV show "Sunday Night" had a segment on
program about "bullies". A number of guests coming
different aspects of the problem had been gathered together in the studio, and they
to comment on their side of the story. Most had been victims,
parents of victims, but some admitted to having been the bully earlier
in their lives. Usually when they were children or in their teens.
While there were some excellent
points raised, and different points of view given, I felt the real
solution was overlooked.
However, before we can talk about
solutions, it helps if we can see why the problem exists.
man.As I understand it, when
God created mankind, He first started with the animal parts of man.
Just like all other mammals, man has a skeleton of bones
with muscles, sinews, flesh and skin. Inside our bodies are organs that carry out
specific functions, such as the brain controlling bodily functions, and the heart pumping blood through the
arteries and veins. God also put within this "animalistic" part of a
human, certain survival instincts, and a drive to procreate the species.
a man or woman is operating at this "animal level", then how they will
react to certain situations is highly predictable by watching how other
Then, in order to lift mankind above
the level of animals, God also gave mankind the "spirit of man".
32:8 NET. But it is a
spirit in people,
the breath of the Almighty,
that makes them understand.
might also want to look at Job 32:8, 38:36, 1 Kings 4:29, Prov 2:6, 1
"spirit of man" allows mankind's brain to rise above the level of other animals, and
can think, make plans, design and create things, express emotion,
and so on. They can use
their wisdom to
understand the end result of certain actions, and then take steps to do
things differently when needed.
We also believe that it is this
spirit that retains our memory bank when we die, and all the other
details (like DNA) that will be used for our resurrection.
need to keep
in mind that, while the spirit of man allows us to operate on a higher
plane to that of the animals, we still retain all our
characteristics. This means that if we choose to ignore the
"spirit of man", we are left using only our animal instincts.
For simplicity, I will call this the "animal level", but do not take
that to mean that we somehow can lose the "spirit of man". It is
always with us, but mankind can chose to not use the benefits it can
make the point a little clearer, it might pay to look at two extremes
of mankind's behavior. At the lowest level, men can become like
men", who live by the rule of "survival of the fittest", and their main
driving force is to find enough food to live for the day. When there is
enough food, then their next need is some form of
"entertainment". In modern day
terms, the "cave" can be an apartment, the "forest" can be a
"tribe" can be a gang, and their "entertainment" is to win and control a section
extreme are men and women who have taken the time to educate
themselves, and have gone on to produce great works of art, music,
literature, and so on. Some have designed and built things that make
richer for millions of others. Others use their acquired skills and
knowledge to help others - such as doctors, dentists, nurses, and so on.
was never God's intention for mankind to stay at the "spirit of man"
level. God wants all men and women to rise up to a third level, where
they operate with the Holy Spirit - or the Spirit of God. In
other words, prepare themselves for a place in the family of God as
resurrected (changed) spirit beings.
Eph 2:19 NLT
are members of God's
Moving from the "spirit of
man" level to the "Spirit of God" level, is the story of salvation, and
is covered in other articles.
What level are people operating on?When
you have to interact with
another human, you need to understand what level they are operating on.
Are they trying to make the most of what the "spirit of man" will allow
them to do, or are they just living on instincts?
Those living close to the
who have allowed themselves (in their mind, so you can not always go on looks)
to sink down towards the animal level, are called "dead" in Bible terminology,
and because they have rejected all help from God, automatically come
under the influence of Satan the Devil - the one who can spread His
influence through the air like radio waves.
Bible has this to say about people operating at this "animal" level.
Eph 2:1-3 NET. "And although you were dead
[or at the "animal level"] in your transgressions and sins,
(2) in which you formerly lived according to this world's
path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air [Satan], the
ruler of the spirit that is now energizing
the sons of disobedience, (3) among
whom all of us also formerly lived
out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of
the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of
wrath even as the rest…"
that Satan "energizes" or encourages disobedience. This means
that people who are actively being a bully, may have a strange
sensation that it is "the right thing to do", because they are mixed up
about the thought processes that are coming from Satan, and the correct
thought processes that should be coming form God's instructions.
In the world
today, what type of people are living their lives controlled by
"cravings of their flesh"?
Obviously people who
are addicted to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, gambling, and so on.
types of people are living their lives by "indulging the desires of the
flesh and mind"?
the list is long, but it includes bullies (since we are talking about
them) certain sex practices, pornography, those dishonest in business,
bribes, all kinds of abusers, and the list goes on.
those humans operating down at the "animal level" will usually
listen to another human. To put it another way, it is almost useless
to just tell a drug addict to stop taking drugs, or an abuser to stop
abusing. There is little use being made of the "spirit in man" in their lives,
so it becomes almost impossible to reason or argue logic with them. They
are "driven" by their
animal instincts, and their sole purpose in life is to satisfy the
"self", or in many cases escape from their reality.
To get them to change -
to stop the animal type behavior - can be difficult. Two options are:-
25:2 NET. "Then, if the guilty person is sentenced to a
beating, the judge shall force him to lie down and be beaten in his presence
with the number of blows his wicked behavior deserves".
The right fear
of punishment will often help people stay away from bad situations.
However, since most of society
does not condone corporal punishment these days, this is not really
option. Another fear that might help, is rejection by their peers, but
again, if their friends condone such behavior, it will not happen. About
the only other fear, is a right fear of the police and judicial system.
Unfortunately, in today's world, this too is being diluted.
The other, as Dr Phil often indicates, is
the removal of the person from the source of contamination. The addict
goes into rehab. The abuser moves out of the house. The bully is expelled from school, that sort of thing.
Those using the
"spirit of man", and are at a higher level.People
who are holding their "animal" instincts in check, and are using their God given human reason, are usually people
who you can influence by giving them solid facts and a logical argument.
They can see the wisdom in what you are saying, and if their
character is strong enough, they will endeavour to do the right thing.
You also need to keep in mind that no human is perfect, and all of us
can make a mistake at any time. So a few slip ups does not mean that
they have thrown away the benefits of the "spirit of man".
factor to keep in mind, is that when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of
"the knowledge of good and evil", they brought that good and bad knowledge - along with sin -
on all their descendants. Any man, woman or child is capable
of doing either good or bad at any time. Thus "good" men can do evil,
men can do good. Just doing a good deed sometimes - while better than
none - does not solve the problem of our fickle human nature. We
need a heart that is set to do God's will all the time (Mat 7:21).
Those at the highest level, and are using the
Spirit of God. People
who are trying to operate with the Spirit of God are people who are
trying to live by the Ten Commandments, as summarized by
Christ in Mat 22:37-40 NET. "Jesus said to him, " 'Love the Lord your God with all
your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
(38) This is the first and greatest commandment.
(39) The second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
(40) All the law and the prophets depend on these two
While these type of people will still
make mistakes, and sin from time to time, very likely they will
recognize it, repent, and correct it themselves, or will do so with a minimum
amount of instruction.
options.How do you get people to change their bad behavior?
those operating towards the animal level, you have to
create a situation that they fear more than the "thrill" they get by
throwing away all restraint, and satisfying their fleshly
motivations. Or you will need to physically remove them from the
of their "cravings" or "desires".
For those trying to live at the
higher end of the spirit of man level, counsel and education will usually get results.
friendly advice is usually sufficient for those who are trying to rise
to the Spirit of God level. However, they too, may also need
more education on certain points.
makes people become bullies.I can only talk from personal
experience on this point, and will mention just two points. No doubt
others can expand on that.
If we look at the animal
kingdom, we can see a common thread that the weak are culled out.
Lions and other large cats attack the weak and stragglers. If
a chicken gets damaged or sick, the others will peck out its eyes and
leave it to die of thirst. In drought conditions, ewes (and other animals) will
walk away from their new born lambs because there is not enough feed to
keep both of them alive. And the examples keep going.
a bully will pick on someone who is weak or "different". In
other words, they are allowing their animal nature to control his or her
The other reason people become abusers -
which is what bullies are - is that they get a certain "satisfaction
feeling" from exercising their power over other people. By putting
others down, they feel "lifted up". I have also read where rape is also
more about forcing someone to "submit", rather than a need for sex.
Vanity, ego, a lack of Christian education, and low self-esteem are all factors in abuse
situations, it would seem.
position.Lest, at this point, someone tries to blame God
because He gave us our "animal" nature, yet us review some statements
from God Himself. I have not counted them all as yet, but I
would imagine there are over 100 Scriptures where God instructs us to
look after the weak and "different" people of our society. He
often uses the description of the "fatherless and widows" as a general
title for those in need of help.
NET. "The LORD who rules over all said, 'Exercise true
judgment and show
brotherhood and compassion to each other.
(10) You must
not oppress the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, or the poor,
nor should anyone secretly plot evil against his fellow human being.'"
10:17-19 NET. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord
of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes
no bribe, (18) who
justly treats the orphan and widow, and who loves resident foreigners,
giving them food and clothing. (19) So you must love the resident
foreigner because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.
1:17 NET. Learn
to do what is right!
oppressed reason to celebrate!
Take up the cause of the orphan!
Defend the rights of the widow!
Obviously God does not condone "bullying" those who are "different" or weak.
given animal instincts to protect the species and to survive in the worst case
scenario, but we were never intended to follow those instincts as a way
What I see as the solution to the
bully problem. From
what we have seen so far, it
seems obvious to me that the more we operate in the Spirit of God zone,
then the greater chance we have of getting it right - that is, not
using our human strength to abuse another person. When we are fully
using the benefits of the "spirit of man", then again it is unlikely
that we would resort to bullying someone else to make ourselves feel
"better". However, once we start living life with our
"animal zone" instincts, then the chances of a human resorting to abuse
and becoming a bully are high.
what we need to do, is to start training our children in the ways of
God at a very early age - certainly before going to pre-school or
school. They should especially be taught how to analyze situations and
resolve them by the Second Great Commandment - "Do unto others as you
would have them do to you". Another way of putting it is "Treat others
as though they were yourself".
life, there are
many situations each day that parents can use to explain the principle
involved, and how the child is to resolve the situation. They
should be taught by words and examples, to go out of their way to help the weak and
the simple action of cutting a cake, and then letting someone else
select the first piece, is a learning situation. Getting
children to respect (do not touch without permission) the possessions
of others, is a huge step forward. If they can learn to respect physical
things, then it is a small step to get them to also respect the humans
children are taught and learn that others have "rights", and those
"rights" are to be respected because you want your own "rights"
respected, then their interaction will not get down to the "animal"
level of forcing their basic instincts on others. Children need to
understand that just because someone is "different", it does not stop
God from making their life useful in the long run. We are to protect
the weak and
"different" people, and give them a chance to grow.
more thing is required.I
have already mentioned in passing that fear can be a motivating force
for humans. As I see it, having something greater than yourself to
fear, is a necessary part of living a healthy Christian life. We
need to teach our children that there will be a time of judgment about
what we have done in life. 2Co 5:10 NET. " For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil".
the same time, we need to be careful not to make children afraid of God
Himself - just His ability to correct us for our wrong actions. To help
balance to the fear of punishment, we also need to instruct our
children in how God will reward for good behavior.
It is a repeated theme throughout the Bible, that God and Christ will reward the good, and punish the bad.
I believe that our children should be carefully instructed about this
simple formula early in life. Mat 16:27 NET. "For the Son of Man
will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done".
in the past, some religious men have picked up the healthy fear and punishment aspect of the
Bible, and then taken it to an extreme. They have done a lot of
damage. The Bible does not support the idea of people burning in
hell for eternity, or any other form of on going punishment.
However, it certainly does support the concept of those who do
not rise above the "animal level", being burnt up in an instant in the
lake of fire.
21:8 NET. "But to the cowards, unbelievers, detestable persons
[which includes bullies], murderers, the sexually immoral, and
those who practice magic spells, idol worshipers, and all those who
lie, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. That is the second death."
Rev 22:12 NET. "... I am coming soon, and my reward is with me to pay each one according to what he has done!"
believe that parents should emphasize the rewards for doing good more
than the negative, but children do need to understand that God will
ultimately punish bad behavior. Another important factor, is that
God will forgive us if we get it wrong, after repentance and change.
Just saying sorry is not enough - there must be evidence of change to
back up the "sorry" statement. Mat 3:8 NET. "Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance".
is a theme of the Bible that
God will be there for people who are trying to live their life with the
help of the Spirit of God. They will still have troubles and
difficulties, but God will be there to help them through those times,
and no doubt, they will learn something from the experience.
is also a theme of the Bible, that if we ignore God, He will become our
enemy - and if there is no repentance and change, ultimately
He will destroy us.
Summary.Bullying is a form of abuse.
I understand it, bullies exist when people allow their "animal
instincts" to control their actions. A contributing condition is that
they are unable to feel love or compassion for their victims.
also need to understand that, if a bully is being bullied or abused by
others (especially at home), they will often turn around and bully
others. In other words, they mimic what they see.
stop a child growing up into a bully, they must be taught early about
God's plan for all humanity, and how to live life by the Second Great
Commandment - to treat others the way they would like to be treated if
were in their position. This needs to start in the home from the time
they are born, as children learn more from what they see than from what
they are told.
Children need to be kept away from abuse because of the principle - "Monkey see, monkey do".
Children (and all people) need to understand about the three levels of living life.
When people are living at the animal level, they are only concerned with self.
The only type of love they know about involves getting people to do things for them - "Come through for me" type of thing.
Since they are totally selfish, any thing that promotes the "self" over others - even if for only a few seconds - feels good.
Using the spirit of man, humans at this level can think and reason, and plan around problems.
can be a higher level of love involved, and they are willing to
sacrifice their will (and animal pulls) in order to build a relationship
There can be give as well as take in their life.
They can see the negatives of mistreating others, so are capable of taking steps to avoid it.
we also need to know that hurtful actions of people around them - such
as an insult or a car cutting in front - can cause enough anger to drop
them back to the animal level in seconds.
Some drugs and alcohol can also do the same thing.
Holy Spirit level.
When humans ask for
the help of the Holy Spirit, they also try to live life according to
God's laws. (No obedience - no Holy Spirit Acts 5:32).
The Ten Commandments are an umbrella over all of God's laws, and were summarized by Jesus in Mat 22:34-40.
People who keep the Ten Commandments - Christians - can love, and share love, with family and friends, but then go on to more.
the help of the Holy Spirit people can love - not for what they get in
return - but because it is the right thing to do.
they can love
their enemies and those who are "different", without first building a
relationship with them, because God tells us that is the right thing to
Where are we headed?Because
- as I see it - people are not being taught to live according to God's
laws, bullies and other random attacks of violence will increase.
Without something/someone greater than themselves to fear, and without
the knowledge that all humans are required to rise above their animal
instincts, humans can quickly sink to their "cave man" status, and
If we do not get back to making God and His laws first and foremost in our life, then God says that He will take away the
blessings He has given us - good land, freedom from enemies, resources,
and so on (Deut 28:1-13).
The increase in bullying (mental, emotional, verbal or physical abuse), random acts of violence,
alcohol fueled violence, gang wars, and other society destroying behavour, is a warning to the
nation that God is about to take us into captivity, and destroy all
that we have taken for granted (Deut 32:35-43, Deut 28:14-62).
need to reverse the situation and start teaching our children about God
and His way of life, or be prepared to accept the consequences (Mal 4:6).
Orchard April 2014
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