by John E. Werhan
“I have nobody. I need someone. My name is _______ _______.”
While reading the news, an article caught my attention concerning a 15 year-old girl who had posted a plea for help on YouTube. In this video she described the years of bullying she had endured from her peers.
Because of this constant barrage she had become so desperate and depressed that she had fallen prey to drugs and alcohol. In the end, this young soul took her life. This was a tragic end for one so young with so much to live for.
If you will do a Web search with the words “suicide” and “bullying” it will become evident that society has a serious problem.
According to the Center for Disease Control:
“Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.”
Even though bullying is not the reason for all youth suicide, a study in Britain found that at least half were related and that 10 to 14 year-old girls were at the highest risk.
According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying.
As members of the society and especially Christians, we should come to an understanding of God’s truth concerning bullying.
Throughout the pages of the inspired Bible God gives insight concerning the struggles between “strangers” and bullies. The term “stranger” used within the text is often a general term; which can mean homeless person, traveler, or person who is strange to one’s standards of cultural normalcy.
One who bullies is the person who uses force, intimidation or manipulation, to obtain their desired end, usually the suffering of others. It is this action that the Bible calls “wicked.”
In the Bible, there are several passages that deal with bullying.
- Cain and Abel in Genesis 4
- The flood in Genesis 6-9
- Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19
- Isaac and Ishmael in Genesis 21
- Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25-28
- Joseph and his brothers from Genesis 45-50
- Gideon and the story of the sons of Baal in Judges 17-21
In addition, there and several stories in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles and others that serve as examples of how God punishes bullies (such as in the many writings of the prophets; specifically Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel); still others are direct commands about not oppressing people, and instructions about how to deal with such oppression.
Bullying has become a societal problem that must be addressed. For the Christian, we have a responsibility to reach out to those struggling and hurting. These precious souls need to know that they are not alone and that there is help available.