WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Imagine this scenario: Thomas doesn’t want to go to school today. Or tomorrow. Or ever again. It all started three months ago when his schoolmates spread vicious rumors about him. Then came the nicknames. Sometimes someone will knock Thomas’ textbooks out of his hands and act as if it were an accident, or one person in a group behind him will shove him, and by the time Thomas turns around, he can’t tell who did it. Yesterday, the bullying took an even more sinister turn when Thomas received an online threat . . .
If you were Thomas, how would you respond?
STOP AND THINK!
You are not totally powerless! In fact, you can fight a bully without using your fists. How?
DON’T REACT. The Bible says: “A stupid person gives vent to all his feelings, but the wise one calmly keeps them in check.” (Proverbs 29:11) If you remain as calm as possible—at least on the outside—those bullying you may well lose interest.
DON’T RETALIATE. The Bible says: “Return evil for evil to no one.” (Romans 12:17) Seeking revenge will only make the situation worse.
DON’T WALK INTO TROUBLE. The Bible says: “The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself.” (Proverbs 22:3) To the extent possible, avoid people who could cause trouble, and avoid situations where bullying may occur.
TRY AN UNEXPECTED RESPONSE. The Bible says: “A mild answer turns away rage.” (Proverbs 15:1) You can even try humor. For example, if a bully asserts that you’re overweight, you could shrug your shoulders and say, “I guess I could lose a few pounds!”
WALK AWAY. “Silence shows that you are mature and that you are stronger than the person harassing you,” says 19-year-old Nora. “It demonstrates self-control—something the bully doesn’t have.”—2 Timothy 2:24.
WORK ON YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE. Bullies can often detect those who think negatively of themselves and who are thus not likely to fight back. In contrast, many bullies will back off if they see that you aren’t giving them any power over you.
TELL SOMEONE. A former schoolteacher says: “I would urge anyone who is being bullied to speak up. It’s the right thing to do, and it can prevent someone else from being bullied.”