Saturday, March 5, 2011

Q & A: “My son is becoming a bully!”

Thank you to everyone who has sent a question in to Passionate Legacy! Keep them coming and we will do our best to get to each of them.

Q: “We recently discovered that our son was being mean and starting to bully other kids in his class. Can you give us some Scripture verses that we can use to approach this?”

A: Let us start by saying that teaching children godly behavior is a life-long process that takes constant teaching and training. Deuteronomy 6 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Do you hear the constant, persistent nature of this training? You cannot expect to just read a couple verses to your children one day and expect them to be good to go. We find ourselves regularly cover Scriptures with our children, and we print and post them up in prominent places in the house (like the doorframe of the dining room). I would encourage you to print the verses and principles below, and read just a little bit each night with your kids and talk about them together.

Now about bullying:

Bullying is the intimidation of a weaker person: the process of intimidating or mistreating somebody weaker or in a more vulnerable situation.

The Bible says:
Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Romans 12:3 “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.”

Sometimes kids think it’s funny to cut someone down to make others feel bad. And they actually feel proud of themselves for making such a good comment that hurt someone else! Why does that make people feel proud? Satan is playing on a desire to feel powerful. Isn’t it twisted to feel good when we hurt another person? We should feel good when we are kind, not hurtful. When someone does a good “cut down”, who is rejoicing, God or Satan? Satan tempts us with pride. Pride is when we feel like we are better than others, and that’s exactly how Satan wants us to feel. It causes us to treat people like they have no value at all. He wants us to idolize ourselves rather than God. He wants us to substitute the powerful feelings that we get when we hurt others, for the good feelings that we get when we know the value that we have in God’s eyes, that we are God’s child, that we are very special and important to him, and that we are loved by him.

Don’t let pride sneak into your life. Don’t allow Satan to be your master and let selfishness control you. But see yourself the way God sees you, and see others the way God sees them. Every person is made in the image of God, and you must not tear or rip away the image of God in another person, even if it is “just” mom, dad, sister or brother.

Don’t let selfishness sneak in either. Selfishness means each person looks out for his own self. If everyone is selfish, no one will be treated right, but if everyone chooses to be loving, everyone would receive love. We need to choose to be selfless and love others by putting their needs first.

Even if someone does something wrong to you, you are responsible to do what is right. And the right thing to do is to always respond with love, not anger, and forgive, not hold a grudge. The Bible says to treat others better than yourself, even if you have been hurt. You need to chose to obey God’s word even when it’s hard, because it is right. And the result will be, that more people will want to be around you because you are a good friend.

Here is something that you could post in your house and refer to regularly:

Principle #1 Loving God means loving others.
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother and sister (1 John 4:20-21).

Principle #2 Loving others means laying down our lives.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters (1John 3:16).

Principle #3 Loving others means putting their needs first.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4).

Principle #4 Loving God and loving others means making every effort to not fight or disagree!
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

Principle #5 Fighting is caused by selfish desires.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God (James 4:1-2).

Application.

1. I will remember that everyone has the same needs, wants and desires as I do.

2. I will remember that making my desires more important than others is selfish.

3. I will give up my selfish desires so that I can get along with others.

4. I will be happy with what I get, rather than fighting or sulking.

5. I will make every effort not let my selfish desires cause me to fight or disagree with people.

6. I will not allow my needs, wants and desires to become so important to me that I am willing to fight with others.

7. I will enjoy how everyone gets along, when no one is selfish.

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