Judging from the angelic smile of the woman on the website, you’d hardly suspect she was promotiing a doctrine destructive to her own child. This doctrine is deadly dangerous, emotionally and spiritually, sometimes even physically. Parents who practice it expose their child to severe satanic oppression. Yet it seems to be the prevailing viewpoint of Christian parents affected by the issue.
What am I talking about anyway?
Unconditional forgiveness for, and passive tolerance of, bullying.
If your child comes home with his shirt torn, his nose bloodied, his lip cut or his eye blackened, HURRY! RUSH to forgive the bully, even if the nasty little thug is pleased as punch he did it. No questions asked. Dispense dirt cheap forgiveness, even if the crime is ongoing and un-repented-of. Even if the bully sends your child to the hospital or cripples him for life, just shower LOVE on the bully, and not one word of rebuke. Case closed. Maybe, just maybe, with enough eternal patience, the evil bully will see the light and come to accept Christ because your child sacrificed a few teeth or a fully functioning brain.
My goodness, whatever you do, don’t let on that you might be just a tiny bit annoyed about your child being beaten up by one or more bullies. After all, it’s a much bigger sin for a Christian to get mad at a sinner than for the sinner to sin. If they call your precious child filthy names, throw rocks at him, tear up his books, trip him up in the hall, tell lies on him to the teacher, rob him of lunch money, pull his hair, stomp his foot, beat him up in the locker room, it’s all part of the cross Christ expects your child to bear “to help win souls.”
Hogwash! No one can expect a pain-free existence on earth, but what about Christ’s plain statement “My yoke is easy and My burden is light?” Isn’t that an awfully heavy burden to place on the shoulders of a helpless child?
In Matt.7:6 Jesus said not to give that which is holy to the dogs (unbelievers). The children of believers are holy (I Cor.7:14). Nor are you to throw your pearls before the swine, lest they turn around and tear you apart (Matt.7:6). So why do so many Christian parents keep their kids in a hostile environment full of dogs and swine eager to tear their children apart?
Learning (or working) is tough enough without having all that extra stress of being bullied eating at the back of your mind. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. If you’re trapped in a war zone for months or years, your first priority will be surviving, not thriving. Eventually you might feel like part of your soul is shutting down to block out pain. At that point, your grades will go down the commode. You’ll be so obsessed with just making it through another day that learning will be difficult if not impossible. Funny how parents will force their child to stay in a school where they’re being tortured, then gripe about poor report cards. But could adults do their best work on their jobs day in and day out, while they were being laughed at, ostracized, ridiculed, perhaps even punched or kicked?
The survival instinct is NOT a sin, though many believe wanting to escape the clutches of abusive people is selfish. Guess Who put the survival instinct in us? Almighty God! In the case of a school child, especially one under 16, the Fight or Flight response to danger is thwarted by adults who force him to stay in the lion’s den. Even if the child feels free to fight back, it’s useless to fight ten bigger attackers. And there’s nowhere that child can run for safety. Skip school and you’ll jump from the frying pan into the fire, and get in trouble with a truant officer. It’s a no-win situation.
Is it a big sin to want to be safe? What kind of example did Christ set in that area? Are we better than He is?
Jesus escaped to a safer environment, Egypt, when Herod’s goons went out gunning for Him (Matt.2:13-20). The angel didn’t tell Joseph to just stay put and let the baby Jesus suffer Herod’s wrath because it was “good for His character development.”
Jesus was seized by religious dudes who didn’t like his Sunday School lesson. They tried to throw him over a cliff (Luke 4:28-30). Instead of submitting to their wrath, He slipped away.
Jesus escaped another lynch mob (John 10:39). He didn’t stand there and say, “Do your worst, I forgive you in advance.”
Even at His illegal trial, when He was struck by the toadies of the High Priest, Jesus did not rush to reassure them of unconditional forgiveness. Instead, He asked them why they did it (John 18:23).
Read all four gospels. You won’t find even one example of Jesus getting beaten up, tortured or brutalized by sinners UNTIL it was time for Him to offer Himself up as a sacrifice for for our sins. And even then, this suffering wasn’t forced on Him. He WILLINGLY suffered for us. Beforehand, Jesus Himself prayed that if it were possible, that God the Father would deliver Him from the terrible sufferings to come (Matt.26:39).
Christ Himself indicated that at any point He could have put an immediate stop to His sufferings and escaped His enemies (Matt.26:53). In fact, He said He could have summoned twelve legions of angels to deliver Him. No mention of that being a selfish attitude. I doubt those angels were awaiting orders to shower Hershey’s Kisses on Christ’s attackers.
Unlike Jesus’ sufferings, school bullying is an evil that’s FORCED on children without their consent, much the same way a woman is raped. When Christian parents say it’s God’s will for their child to be attacked and it’s un-Christlike to interfere to save their own child, they’re not acting like Mary and Joseph who took the baby Jesus out of a destructive environment. They’re expecting more of their child than Jesus expected of Himself before Calvary! If we hadn’t needed to get our sins paid for in order to escape hell, God would NEVER have permitted satan to hurt His precious Son! Is your son or daughter called by God to suffer to pay for someone else’s redemption? I doubt it!
Bullies, like all people who reject Christ, are children of the devil who do the works of the devil (John 8:44). Satan’s ministry is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Bullies steal a child’s peace and joy, sometimes their material goods. Bullies kill a child’s self-esteem, kill their health, sometimes kill them outright or drive them to suicide. There are many tragic stories in the news about kids who couldn’t take it anymore and took their own lives to get away from their torturers. If a bully drives another child to such desperation that he dies by his own hand, (and especially if the eternal destination of the dead child hangs in doubt) how is it proper to hand out unconditional forgiveness like candy to the unrepentant bully? Christians think it’s mean to expect the bully to get off his high horse and humble himself to ask for forgiveness. They want to make it easy for the bully to get absolution (being set free) from their guilt without having to confess his sins to Christ and ask forgiveness. Confession-free forgiveness without repentance is NOT taught in scripture. This is akin to Universal Salvation, a heresy which teaches that everybody, probably even satan himself, will ultimately end up saved.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, not to sanctify them (I John 3:8). Bullying is a profoundly destructive hate crime. When you strip the sentimentality away from this satanic lie that bullying helps God sanctify a soul, you can examine the phenomenon more rationally. Now if satan is ultimately behind all acts of cruelty, and bullying wouldn’t happen without his input, then it follows that satan is being used by Christian parents to develop the character of their child!
Through their own passivity and reluctance to confront evil, Christian parents are turning their own helpless children over to torturers! Some of the outrages that happen in schools, even Christian schools, if perpetrated on a dog, would have the humane society seeking prosecutions for abuse and negligence.
Yes, bullying does happen even in Christian schools, if what I read on the Internet is true. When it does it’s doubly tragic because God holds those who’ve been taught the difference between right and wrong much more accountable (John 9:41). People who claim to be Christians ARE capable of great cruelty. Just about all the kids at schools I went to were churchgoers. But that didn’t stop some of them from attacking me on the school bus, or treating me like a leper as THE designated victim. The big miracle is I was able to separate the chaff from the wheat and still come to Christ. What does Jesus have to say about abusive believers?
Luke 12:45: But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
Bullies in Christian schools, far from being excused by God for paying lip service to Christianity (churchianity), will be judged much more severely by Christ himself for abusing other believers in His absence. Instead of hugs and kisses, they can expect to be beaten with many stripes. Jesus’ will is for us to love one another as He has loved us (John 15:12). If you love your brother or sister, you won’t want to slander them, throw things at them, call them foul names. If there ARE bullies in Christian schools, they should be warned that Jesus has His whip out to chastise them and they won’t get away with it. If they persist in bearing foul fruits of hatred, Christ promises to appoint them their portion with all other workers of iniquity and thrust them out of His Kingdom (Luke 13:27-28). “Christian” bullies, like unbelievers, bring forth thorns instead of the fruit of the Spirit (Heb.6:8). Bearers of bad fruit get thrown into the fire (Matt.3:10; 7:19; Luke 3:9). There won’t be any foul-mouthed, vicious bullies in heaven, even if they do claim to be believers.
To condone school bullying as “suffering for Christ” is whitewashing a violent crime with bad religion. Imagine a bully-tolerating mother who gets to stay home all day instead of going out to face people herself. It’s easy to be an angel when you aren’t being hounded by devils. Maybe she thinks God wants her child to wear a “kick me” sign, but she doesn’t have the right to force her own child to suffer for her personal beliefs.
Thank God my own child didn’t suffer bullying. But if she had, I wouldn’t have let old satan sing “another one bites the dust.” I would have been down at that school making noise about it.
If school officials or teachers (I know from experience it DOES happen!) ENABLE or even participate in the persecution of a child, they, along with the bullies’ parents, should be held liable for damages or any expenses incurred for medical treatment.
Whenever possible, vulnerable children should be home-schooled. Parents should check out what’s required by state law, what materials are needed, etc. For subjects too difficult for some parents (i.e. chemistry or higher math) outside help would be needed. Even if a professional tutor is unaffordable, perhaps a friend or relative skilled in those subjects might be willing to donate their time to help, or do so in exchange for a service they need (house-cleaning, car-washing, baby-sitting, typing, etc.). And there’s always help on the Internet. But whatever the solution, leaving the child in a dangerous environment must not be an option.
Bullying is not of God. It is satanic. It breaks God’s Golden Rule: Whatever you want others to do to you, do to them (Matt.7:12). Jesus and Paul both say that love fulfills the Law of God (Rom.13:8). Neither Jesus nor Paul EVER commanded parents to let satan teach their kids to be a docile dartboard.
If terrible suffering (especially abuse) IS necessary for character development, then what about Adam and Eve in the Garden? Did God send a few scorpions to bite them to toughen them up? Did they have hostile neighbors around to bully them, to teach them love and patience? What about the mortal inhabitants of Christ’s 1000-year Reign on Earth? If I read my Bible right, I’m led to believe the earth will be a Paradise, not the dog-eat-dog jungle it is today. With Christ keeping a tight rein on His subjects’ behavior, I don’t see how high schools of the future will be bastions of bullying, fear and violence like so many are today. Here is one example of conditions which will prevail when Christ reigns on earth:
Ezekiel 34:25: And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be SAFE in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.
28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but THEY SHALL DWELL SAFELY, AND NONE SHALL MAKE THEM AFRAID.
What a wonderful world! Someday it will be illegal to assault your neighbor at school or work. People will be able to sleep in the woods without worrying some bear will eat them up. Evil beasts will cease to exist in the land, and that would include the two-legged variety which does the worst harm. In that blessed day, nothing will terrify God’s people ever again. Now if the mortal believers of that future generation won’t have to be tortured and intimidated in order to grow spiritually, then why should a Christian child of today have to be subjected to that?
Parents who bet that the bully’s heart will be softened by exposing their child to abuse, are delegating authority to the bully to decide what’s best for their child! They are entrusting their child’s safety to the tender mercies of a foul-mouthed, violent criminal. They are abdicating their God-given role as protector of their child. They are betraying their child to servants of satan!
Bullies are seldom, if ever, reformed by mollycoddling them. They only learn they can do what they want and get by with it each and every time. They learn that cruelty pays huge dividends of cheap fun at no cost. They are cunning serpents who will stretch the boundaries of how much they can get away with. Their demented brains will invent many fiendish ways to wear on the nerves of a poor oppressed child, never giving that one a moment’s peace. No cat ever tortured a mouse as cruelly as a bully tortures his victim.
Verbal abuse, supposedly mild kid stuff, is satan’s way of poisoning the soul. Scripture calls him that old serpent the Devil (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). A serpent is a snake, especially a poisonous one. Satan fills people’s tongues with his venom. James 3:5-8 speaks of the evils of the tongue. It is set on fire by hell, full of deadly poison. What does the tongue of a bully poison but the soul of his victim? Does bullying edify the child spiritually? Does it promote the fruits of the Spirit? What are some of its REAL fruits?
Consider the deadly cocktail of emotions which spring from a daily dose of verbal poison:
1. Fear. There is always the possibility that verbal abuse will escalate into physical assault. And even if it doesn’t, it’s very imtimidating to see your personal reputation ripped to shreds.
2. Shame. Your self-esteem is demolished. It hurts to become the school scapegoat. Even if you don’t deserve the abuse you feel stigmatized and want to crawl into a hole and hide.
3. Anger. There is understandable anger toward vicious bullies because God put within each of us a longing for dignity and justice.
4. Hate. Bullying can destroy the victim spiritually as well as socially, emotionally and physically. If more wounds are inflicted before old ones have a chance to heal, anger against injustice can degenerate into bitter hatred of the bullies. That’s a heavy temptation to put on a Christian child.
5. Helplessness. What torture it is, being a kid trapped in a hopeless, no-win situation like school. Your fight-or-flight instinct, built into all higher forms of life, is suppressed. You can’t fight the crowd hostile to you, and you can’t quit school. So shame, fear and frustration eat away at you daily.
6. Depression. Proverbs 15:15 says: All the days of the afflicted are evil. Even on weekends or other “good” days, the bullied child knows it’s just a short break and more misery is on the way.
7. Self-loathing. After hearing thousands of times that you’re fat, ugly, dumb, etc. you wonder if you even have a right to exist. After years of being trashed that way, no wonder the bullied child can’t reach for the stars and become a huge success in life.
8. Post-Traumatic stress symptoms. Insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, phobias, fear of crowds, fear of social interaction, reclusiveness, memory triggers which cause you to relive painful moments.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray that God would not lead them into temptation (severe testing) and that He would deliver them from evil (Matt.6:13). But some parents, instead of delivering instead of delivering their kids from evil, deliver them over to evil by forcing them to interact with vicious bullies. And as for unconditional forgiveness, even a small child knows what’s fair and what isn’t. When he’s been hurt so bad he can’t love the source of his pain (the bully), he comes under condemnation from adults who criticize him for his “selfishness” and “lack of love for Jesus.” Jesus’ selfless work on the Cross is appealed to in order to shame the child into mouthing words of “forgiveness” he doesn’t really mean.
Many focus on Christ saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” All the emphasis is on the forgiving part, and virtually none on the second part of the sentence: For (because) they know not what they do. But unless they’re mentally impaired, bullies KNOW what they’re doing. They’re getting a cheap thrill at the expense of someone else’s child. There’s no incentive to quit because the grown-ups will always make excuses for anything he feels like doing, no matter how evil it is.
Bullying is a crime. It involves character assassination, emotional torture, sometimes physical assault. Bullying is the deliberate destruction of another human being created in the image of God. Its effects can last a lifetime. If an adult were subjected to such treatment at work he would take the bully to court. He might even sue the organization which enabled the abuse or ignored his complaints. But adults let their own kids suffer treatment they wouldn’t let anyone dish out to their dog. Something’s wrong.
Does God Himself always quickly forgive sinners, even unrepentant ones?
God justifies those who believe in Christ, not those who don’t believe (Romans 3:26). Are we better than God, that we should absolve an unrepentant bully of his guilt?
God had someone killed just for picking up sticks on the Sabbath Day (Num.15:32-36).
God refused to forgive idol worshippers (Isa.2:9).
God told Jeremiah not to pray for certain sinners (Jer.14:11).
God forbade the Israelites to bless certain enemies (Deut.23:6).
God swore He wouldn’t accept Eli’s sacrifices for his sins (I Sam.3:14).
God did not forgive the shedding of innocent blood (2 Kings 24:3-4).
God did not overlook Ananias and Sapphira’s lie (Acts 5:1-11).
God did not forgive Herod for demanding worship (Acts 12:21-23).
Did the apostle Paul have a forgiving attitude toward the incorrigibly wicked people? Did Christ?
2 Thes.1:6: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
2 Tim.4:14: Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
Rom.2:5: But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Rom.12:9: Let love be without dissimulation (pretense). Abhor (strongly hate) that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Rev.2:2A I (Jesus) know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear (stand) them which are evil:* * * *Jesus does not rebuke the Ephesians because they couldn’t stand evil people.
If any man love not the lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema (accursed). Maranatha (I Cor.16:22).
Bullies couldn’t possibly love Jesus so they fall in that category.
Somehow I just can’t imagine Jesus standing idly by while His mother got jumped by some pervert in the alleyway. He wouldn’t have said it was good for Mary’s character development. I suspect he’d have walloped the assailant rather than let His mom be molested.
Jesus says in Matt.24:43 and Luke 12:39 that if the master of the house had been vigilant he would have known when the burglar was coming and WOULD NOT HAVE ALLOWED HIS HOME TO BE BROKEN INTO. The strong implication is, Jesus actually approved of people protecting their homes. Now, if Christ allows you to defend your house from burglary, doesn’t he allow you to protect your own child from criminals who would ransack his life of health and peace?
Forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood topics in the Bible. Truth taken to extremes becomes error. Most New Testament usages of the verb “forgive” are translated from the Greek word aphiemi, which simply means to “set aside.” This particular word does not signify the type of forgiveness which grants an offender absolution, or release from the guilt of sin and its consequences. It does not suspend the law of sowing and reaping in an abuser’s life (Gal.6:7). You simply choose to set aside the offense, so as not to take your own vengeance. You then leave that one in God’s hands to deal with justly. This harmonizes with Romans 12:19, which tells you to refrain from revenge to make room for God’s wrath. Even this tenuous “just forget it” forgiveness might be impossible in the case of an ongoing campaign of criminal assault against your child.
A stronger Greek word for “forgive” in the NT, charizomai, means “to freely forgive from the heart as an act of kindness”. This verb is used only three times in the NT, and ALWAYS in relation to other believers, not unrepentant sinners.
To justify bullying or look the other way is to share in the bully’s guilt. All children have the right to dignity as human beings made in God’s image. Any school which turns a blind eye to bullying is an accomplice to the bully, and an enabler of the abuse.
When you leave your child at the school door, school authorities take your place as the child’s guardian, not just as his teacher. They are acting in a loco parentis (in place of the parent) capacity on behalf of your child. When those school authorities pretend not to notice the abuse being heaped on your child, they are guilty of failing to provide a safe learning environment for the child in the parent’s place. In such cases a lawsuit involving a breach of the school’s loco parentis obligation could be pursued.
Sadly enough, very few feel someone else’s pain unless it hurts their pocketbook. If threatened with enough lawsuits, schools just might scramble to crack down on bullies. I believe there should be something like a “three strikes and you’re out” policy. Once, or even twice, there might be room for doubt. But when there’s no doubt, throw the bully out! If bullies had to pay for their own education elsewhere, or work at some menial job to compensate their victims for pain and suffering, I doubt bullies would be as bold as they are today. When there’s no penalty evil flourishes (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
It’s cruel for a Christian parent to blame a bullied child for being unable to “forgive” an ongoing hate campaign. To tell the child that God will rake up his old sins (or send him to hell) for inability to “forgive” unrepentant tormentors, that’s religious blackmail, not love.
Ezekiel 13;22: Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:
Prov.17:15: 15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
God doesn’t think it’s spiritual to let the wicked off the hook. Telling sinners they don’t need to repent in order to be forgiven is the most unloving thing you could do. It gives sinners a false reassurance of peace with God even while they are exposed to His white-hot wrath (John 3:36; Luke 13:3,5). God doesn’t like it when you tell your child it’s “Christ-like” for him to take at least half the blame for his own abuse (even if it’s unmerited) instead of confronting the bully with his sin and giving him opportunity for true repentance before God.
Some say words don’t hurt, and so long as your child isn’t being physically beaten up they’ll be okay. I don’t think so. Words wound. Even a tiny peanut can kill someone with a peanut allergy. It’s taken so seriously that warnings are pasted on food packages about the product being manufactured in the presence of nuts. Just ONE teeny-weeny peanut can send some people into throes of agony or even cause death. And one cruel word too many can be the last straw for a kid who’s sick of life.
Graduates of the High School of Hard Knocks are like a person hypersensitive to bee stings. Being torn down time and time and time again can make them people-shy and supersensitive to verbal poison. Satan is called a serpent (snake) in the Bible (Rev. 20:2). Jesus Himself called His own enemies vipers, or poisonous snakes (Matt. 12:34). Bullies, satan’s children, are deadly dispensers of hate. They speak with the tongues of vipers (Psalms 58: 3-4). The Psalmist declares that even from the womb the wicked are estranged from God. They do not belong to God, and they are of their father the devil. They are from beneath (John 8:23,44). How ludicrous, to suppose that the eternal soul of a person is less real than the body which shall die and return to the dust, and the hurts inflicted on it are trivial, just because a wounded soul is invisible!
Proverbs 11:9 declares that it is possible for someone to destroy his neighbor with his mouth! Words can heal and words can destroy. Christian parents should see to it that their child is built up with godly words instead of being continually torn down by the attacks of satan, a deadly lion looking for prey to devour (I Pet.5:8). Christians should remember God gave them their child and one day they’ll have to give an account for their stewardship of the child.