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Bullying: A Starting Point

We’ve come to a point where bullying is in the eye of the beholder. There is true bullying where one person intimidates or dominates another person. That needs to be addressed. But it will be hard to take on what needs to be eliminated as long as we fail to see the difference between true bullying and a kind of self proclaimed victim status.

It no longer seems to matter what reasonably was said or done, but what seems to be most important is how a certain word or action is received. If a person on the receiving end says it was accusatory or judgmental or hurtful, then it is bullying.

What bullying has become is “You hurt my feelings.” It is victimhood. It is assigning power over what happens inside of me to others. The person who is most susceptible to bullying is the one who believes that others hold that kind of power of him. When we assign that kind of power to others, we focus on them instead of on ourselves. That becomes toxic quickly.

God says it simply. What a man sows, he will reap (Gal. 6:7). Sure, we do share outcomes with our community. Others can make bad decisions and we can reap from those poor decisions. Others can use their power for evil. They can directly assault us in a way that causes us to feel powerless. I say “feel” because we do have more power than we generally feel we have.

So much changes when we acknowledge one simple truth. I create the majority of my own outcomes. I share some outcomes with those in my community—but most of those outcomes are my choice because most of my connections are my choice. The power others have in my life depends on "How much power am I giving others in my life"? Sometimes a better questions is "Who am I giving power in my life?" and "Are they abusing that power?"

The power of the bully is multiplied when we choose to give the bully power. Self pity leaves a person wide open to the attack of the intimidator. In fact, it tends to invite those who are bullies to hit the soft target of the one with the victim status.

We have gone from a national norm of believing in our ability to create our own destiny to a place where we see others as holding the key to our future. Yes, we share outcomes. Yes, others can have a great impact on our lives. But only my choices leave me devastated or victorious. Others can treat me in a way that temporarily devastates me, but only my response can create an ongoing state of devastation in me.

Some of the most inspirational people of our day are those who overcame some huge obstacles to stand in a good place. With our current attitude toward bullying, that would never have happened.

Do you want a better life? Believe what the Scriptures say, that God watches over us to make sure that what we sow is what we will reap. Move out of a place of assigning power to others. It is the beginning of a healthier, happier life.

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