There isn’t a single human on earth who at some point doesn’t have to deal with a bully. Define a bully any way you want, but it is simply that person in your life who makes things miserable by trying to control, belittle, or intimidate you.
They may think they have good intentions in mind for you or they might just be an outright evil-doer. Whatever their motive is, the effect on you is hurt, anxiety, confusion, and fear that they won’t stop no matter what you do.
So, what can you do?
In some cases, where you have the opportunity and freedom, simply leave and don’t come back. In Matthew 10:14 (NIV), Jesus instructed his disciples:
“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”
That’s exactly what Paul and Barnabas did when being oppressed and rejected as they were preaching the Gospel in synagogues in Perga. (Acts 13:51)
This may not always be possible when it comes to certain relationships like work, school, sporting teams, or hobbies. In those cases, you need to stay and deal with the adversity head-on. Call out to God and believe Him to give you His wisdom, deliverance, and empowerment through His Holy Spirit.
*If there is abuse in a marital or family relationship, please seek professional guidance or protection immediately.
When you are assaulted with insults or unfounded accusations, don’t defend yourself. Trying to defend your case often ends up strengthening your accuser. When Jesus was falsely accused and insulted, He made no answer and did not seek revenge.
“When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23 (NIV)
In fact, Jesus taught us to do the opposite to the ones harassing us.
“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28 (NIV)
It can be very disarming for someone who wants to pick a fight to have no one to fight back.
This can be your most powerful weapon in dealing with a bully. Jesus said:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’” Matthew 5:43 (NIV)
That doesn’t mean we have to pretend to have feelings of love for someone who mistreats us, but it may mean showing love with actions of good deeds.
In Matthew 5:41, Jesus said that if your adversary asks you to go one mile (in carrying his load), go two instead. Take the opportunity if it comes to show an act of kindness (or mercy) when your adversary is in need.
While it may be tempting to pray that God would punish your enemy, offer forgiveness instead. Pray for their welfare and that they would turn to God. Jesus modeled it for us and then asked us to do the same when He said,
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:44 (NIV)
The bottom line in all this is for you to take the high road and stay at peace. Everyone has bullies. You’ve been entrusted with an opportunity to grow bigger on the inside while modeling for others the way to deal with those who hurt you. Your patience, strength, and courage will pay off and you will be honored and respected.
We are told in 1 Samuel 2:30, that he who honors God, God will honor. As you trust Him, He can deliver you from your oppressor.
“If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.” 2 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
Todd Isberner is a husband, father, business owner and author of “What Every Man Needs to Know”. As a result of his own life-altering conversion, Todd invested over 40 years learning to master the cornerstones of a man’s life: faith, family, fitness and finances. His success is based on discovering the deeper meanings and impact each one of these has in life. A former business owner, professional media consultant and coach, today Todd invests his time mentoring other men along their journey to success. More at ToddIsberner.com
For a more in-depth look at how to create intimacy with God get Todd Isberner’s new book “What Every Man Needs to Know: How to Master Faith, Family, Fitness and Finance” here: https://www.amazon.com/What-Every-Man-Needs-Know/dp/0578429411/