The problem of bullies and the search for a solution is filling the media. Children are committing suicide at an alarming rate to avoid the bombardment of being bullied. Schools are at a loss as to how to curb this widespread epidemic. The Christian community needs to be providing a solution to this societal problem that is life-giving and practical.
The Christian response is often a matter of turning the other cheek, but when children are the victims this seems a very unpractical response. Christian parents cannot simply send their children back into the fray armed only with the idea that they ought to allow this mistreatment to go on to their own detriment.
Just the same where does the love of Christ come into this situation?
Surely love is the answer. But what does that love look like? On an airplane, stewards instruct the passengers that in the event of an emergency to place the oxygen masks on oneself before helping a passenger that needs aid. If the person does not do this they will both be in jeopardy.
Thus there is a need for the child to seek adult protection before employing any actions of helping the bully. They need to ensure their own safety before anything they do in retaliatory love and forgiveness can reach its target safely. Returning right for wrong is the way of righteousness, but using your head in the process is applicatory.
People usually do not hurt others for the sake of hurting them, but typically to get their own needs met. The bully is often the person lacking self-esteem. They are often the victim in another arena and are using the school as a place where they can assert power through manipulative fear tactics and unrestrained brutality.
The famous case of the Columbine shooters caused investigation into the lives of these shooters and the medical evidence of their emotional development. The autopsies showed that emotional development was severely stunted. This emotional development of the brain is only matured by parental nurture which in their case was devastatingly lacking. This, in no way, excuses their abhorrent and tragic behavior, but it does lend itself to preventative compassion.
When we understand that the bully is like a wounded animal stuck in a trap fighting tooth and nail to become free from the pain and bondage we can see how to help him and in turn save the victims of his anger. Children cannot be impressed upon to take this charge until they are safe. They need to be encouraged to see a safe vantage point before trying to help a bully. Then a response of love can break that bondage and free that bully into a new reality.
Rejection will often cause a greater propensity
In contrast, rejection will often cause a greater propensity for that bully to stay trapped in his ways and feed his desire for violence.
One has to understand that people are free; the bully is free and the victim is free. The victim needs to utilize his freedom to walk away, get help, and cease enabling himself to be a victim. Children often succumb to fear of letting people who can help know what is going on. This means parents talking to their children about their power to walk away and get help. Children need to know it is not their fault and the bully cannot define who they are.
The bully is also free and no one can change his heart or make him be someone else
Consequences should befall him, but also love. For only love can change the heart and set him free from the bondage that adversely affects him from governing his behavior rightly.
The Christian response then is one of freedom, empowerment, and love. If one can instill these values in children and help teach them in schools, the power of bullies can be overcome.