Bullying and the Bible

by John E. Werhan

Over the past several years, the adverse consequences of bullying have been brought to light. Statistics based primarily on survey data, which have typically found that at any given time between 20 and 30 percent of students are involved in bullying, either as perpetrators, victims or both.

According to researchers this action is as harmful to the perpetrator as to the victim. For the perpetrator there can be devastating consequences such as school discipline, arrest, legal problems, violent retaliation, and the haunting memory of their actions. One man noted:

“I still remember the names and faces of kids I picked on, and I’m troubled today with their memory and the haunting questions of whatever happened to them.”

Victims face a multiplicity of harmful effects:

  • physical
  • mental injuries,
  • anxiety,
  • depression,
  • headaches,
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue.
  • Suicide
  • violence

These harmful actions affect both the perpetrator and the victim throughout their lives. The action of bullying is no stranger to the inspired text. There are examples of how people suffered, and how far bullying could go. Consider:

  • the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4,
  • the story of the flood in Genesis 6-9,
  • the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19,
  • the story of Isaac and Ishmael in Genesis 21,
  • the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25-28,
  • the story of Joseph and his brothers from Genesis 45-50,
  • the story of Exodus 1-15,
  • the story of Gideon,
  • the story of the sons of Belial in Judges 17-21,
  • and several of the stories of the kings in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, etc.;

In the New Testament, Paul condemns such things as “…enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying” (Galatians 5:20-21), which are characteristic of bullying. In essence, individuals, “who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). Bullying is not only destructive to individuals physically and mentally, but also spiritually. Even though such actions are promoted as acceptable in our society one should really consider the outcome of involving themselves in such. Exhibiting Christian love would certainly be better and truly pleasing to God than tormenting the weak.


John preachers for the The Northeast church of Christ in Sentinel, Oklahoma.

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