It is no secret that bullying is a challenge that we face on a national level. As Christians, we know that our hearts are far from God and we struggle with anger, hurt and hate. How can we teach our children to have courage and love like Jesus when he stood up to the crowd and defended the defenseless? This week, Dan Broyles, Care Pastor at Valencia Hills Community Church, and Michal Wilson, Counselor, spoke to the respective 8th and 9th grade boys and 7th through 9th grade girls Bible classes about how to approach this topic as a believer.

“We want to tackle the hard subjects and point our students to Christ and the Word of God as the authority on all things, including relationships and bullying,” shared Mrs. Kennedy, girls Bible teacher. “There are key passages of scripture that apply to the person being bullied, for the bully and for the bystander. We want to equip our students and encourage them to be loving and kind. We want them to be aware of what bullying actually is and how when we care more about ourselves than others, we can easily become a bully. Also, we want our students to be courageous bystanders who speak up for those who are being mocked or hurt.”

Verses were discussed for those being bullied such as in Matthew 5:44-45 when it says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Strong and direct words from scripture were shared for those who are prone to bullying such as Ephesians 4:31-32 which says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

For the bystander, one of the poignant passages discussed included Philippians 2:3-4 where it says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

“We worked with students on prayers of confessions that helped us dig into the truth of what is going on in our hearts and ask the hard questions,” continued Mrs. Wilson. “These prayers assisted in breaking down the idea of bullying into the root issue of the heart and any thoughts or attitudes we might be harboring.”

Prayers of confessions included statements such as, “God, I admit that sometimes I am more concerned about having fun and less concerned about loving people around me”, “God, I admit that sometimes I slander others. This makes me feel better about myself”, and “God, I admit that sometimes I have an attitude of ‘I don’t care’ about others.” These prayers, along with other prayers and the scripture examined, gave students the tools necessary to explore their hearts and ask honest questions about their attitudes and behavior toward others.