Girls bully too
Seven ways Christian girls (and guys) can respond to insults, gossip and false rumours.
Did you know that girls bully, too? Here's how they do it.
- Randomly deciding someone is not in their “friend zone” today, and running away/excluding them from the group
- Telling others to ignore particular people for no apparent reason
- Exposing secrets - tricking someone into sharing a secret, then telling everyone else about it
- Playing jokes for the purpose of making someone look stupid
- Purposely whispering in front of someone to make them feel like they’re missing out
- Spreading rumours about someone, or calling them names
- Facebook or IM bullying - sending insults or attacks via fake email/names, publishing embarrassing photos/videos of kids at school, impersonating a friend/hacking friend’s account to play tricks or send insults, setting up pages “Like if you think [name] is an idiot” (usually something more abusive than “idiot”!)
What the Bible says about bullies:
This list isn’t a “girls only” list. Boys do these things, too. Girls just seem to prefer the subtle ways of dissing someone over punching on with them. But guess what? It isn’t new:
"A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends". Proverbs 16:28
It’s crazy. It’s nasty. It’s a part of our broken world. They even knew that back in Old Testament times!
But just as the bible knows the problem, the bible also has some help along the way.
What’s the bible’s answer?
1. Choose your friends carefully
"The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray". (Proverbs 12:26)
I know, it’s easier said than done. Being “popular” is such a powerful thing. But it’s better to hang out with people who aren’t game players, or who aren’t going to pressure you into doing things you later regret.
2. Be a good friend
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity". (Proverbs 17:17)
The “friend zone” game only works when people go along with it. Try being a person who can be trusted, who is known for being reliable.
3. Be a truthful friend, not a pretentious enemy
"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses". (Proverbs 27:6)
A good friend won’t say “you look fabulous!” when someone has food hanging out of their mouth. So put away the camera phone, and hand over the tissues. ;-)
4. Don't fight fire with fire
Jesus said: “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:39-40)
He wasn’t just saying that to make our lives difficult. He lived it. He put up with a whole lot worse than we do! So don’t start nasty rumours in return, or set up an alternate facebook page saying “[name] is a nasty !#*$(&#%^”
5. Protect the bullied
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act". (Proverbs 3:27)
This one takes a lot of courage. So be brave. You may get heaps for it, but as Peter said, “It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:17-18). If people have a go at you for protecting the bullied, remember that you’re in very good company: Jesus suffered for doing good, too.
6. Remember who’s watching
"The Lord ... mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed". (Proverbs 3:32-34)
Power plays at school can make us forget that the real power is in God’s hands, and God isn’t too pleased with our foolish human games. If we say we are followers of Jesus, our patterns of friendship need to mirror God’s ways. Or else we’re liars.
7. Remember forgiveness
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. (Luke 11:4)
Because God is loving and gracious, he has extended the offer of forgiveness even to his enemies, by sending Jesus to take the punishment his enemies deserve. That’s us! We have shut God out of the “friend zone” for most of our lives. That all changes when we accept our responsibility, and turn to Jesus for forgiveness. Then God offers us peace, safety and security as a member of his family, and a promise one day of a home without pain, without fear, without suffering. That’s an amazing and undeserved gift! If you get this eternal perspective, then it gets a whole lot easier to forgive people who hassle you.
There’s a lot there that we can worry about. But let’s give God (through Peter) the final word, eh?
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you". (1 Peter 5:6-7)