Bullying includes harm by word as well as by fist.
Increased awareness and social pressure is presumably making a difference, but in some cases maybe it’s making the perpetrators craftier. Texting and social media make it easier to shoot from a distance.
I’ve been reading lately about cyber-bullying, including some cases that allegedly drove the victims to suicide. If that’s true, you’d hope the spiteful talkers would feel remorse for what they’ve done. I suspect they’re saying “what a loser” and still blaming the victim.
School administrations are often helpless to intervene, and may even deny the problem now that it’s politically incorrect.
Our communities’ kids are under attack, and that’s nothing new. They’re vulnerable to one another—and to the enemy of our souls. How can they defend themselves, when it hurts too much to just walk away?
In Psalm 109, David opens his prayer with these words:
My God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for people who are wicked and deceitful have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. (Ps. 109:1-3, NIV*)
David was bullied too, even as an adult. But David, a man after God’s own heart, knew where to go for help. How many of our kids do?
His prayer starts with this cry for help (Ps. 109:1-5) and then launches into what looks like a prayer for vengeance (Ps. 109:6-20). In typical Old Testament mindset, it carries the punishment for the bully’s acts into the lives of his wife and children.
Living under grace, I’m not comfortable with that. I’d rather pray for our kids’ bullies to be set free from their own spiritual darkness and to come into Jesus’ light.
I can’t call down vengeance. That’s God’s territory and I’ve needed too much grace myself. But look again at those verses. Sometimes it’s only when “what goes around comes around,” when we’re on the receiving end instead of in control, that we realize the truth.
God knows what it will take for bullies to understand the damage they’re doing, and if personal experience is what it takes, then may He bring it on. I still pray that with the end of the bully-life will come rebirth into Kingdom-life.
Ultimately, the prayer asks God to deal with the bullies. David knows he can’t fight this himself. Hear what he says:
For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow; I am shaken off like a locust. (Ps. 109:22-23, NIV*)
Can’t you feel his pain?
David knows how to pray. He comes to God, the highest Authority, and he holds nothing back: this is how I feel, this is what I’m asking in my anger and my pain, I’m asking You to repay my accusers. And I’m asking You to “help me, LORD my God; save me according to your unfailing love. Let them know that it is your hand, that you, LORD, have done it.” (Ps. 109:26-27, NIV*)
See how his prayer comes around to God? Not only for vengeance and help, but for God’s own glory? David is under God’s care, and he wants the world to know not just for his own sake, but for God’s.
He has laid out his need and his pain, and now he turns his focus to his God. In the moment, while circumstances are unchanged, David finds the strength to voice praise:
With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD; in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him. For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save their lives from those who would condemn them. (Ps. 109:30-31, NIV*)
David left us a valuable prayer to offer for our youth, for our friends, for ourselves. It reminds us that our God is Mighty to Save.