Updated: May 30, 2019
There is a Biblical response to bullying— that’s spiritual, practical, and applicable for any age. However, it’s not for the faint-hearted or double-minded person to engage. There must be a firm confidence of faith in God to empower you with wisdom in dealing with difficult people.
I do understand the frustration. I have had a bully in authority over me in the workplace for 30 years.
#1) Recognize bullying behavior when it is present. “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:20)
The fruit of bullish behavior will carry the stench of selfish gain at the cost of other people’s property, peace, or dignity. Sometimes it can be subtle, however, a spiritually discerning person will sense the red flags of a bully. It’s a matter of recognizing it.
#2) Seek wisdom from God on how to deal with them. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6)
Responding in your flesh or carnal nature will be the easiest, yet most destructive way of dealing with a bully. This will put you in a position where the bully now has evidence that you are a "little off your rocker" and therefore less credible. Sometimes your past interactions with bullies will make you more defensive and reactive instead of you being thoughtfully proactive in the Spirit of God. Seeking wisdom from God, proceed with caution leaving plenty of room for grace. Wisdom nurtures a willing heart and an open mind to draw a bully towards a spirit of repentance.
I know at this point all you really want is for them to leave you alone and its easy to not care about if they get healed or anything. Stick with it, God has more for you.
You are a conqueror in the name of Jesus Christ. You are the head and not the tail. You are a part of a royal priesthood and called by God to overcome evil with good.
#3) Refuse the temptation for revenge. “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath” (Romans 12:19)
Forgiving the bully isn’t excusing their behavior or saying that it is right. Rather, it’s more about your heart than theirs. Your heart needs to remain free from bitterness, revenge, or the need for retribution. The Lord will take care of all revenge—both small and great. We can take confidence that our God is a God of justice and will repay every indignity on the heads of those who dare to violate his commands. God may not do this out in the open for you and everyone to see, so don't assume that just because you didn't see it that it didn't happen. God's revenge is not for your enjoyment.
#4) Resist the urge to jump to action or delay action. "But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deut 4:29)
It is our instincts that cause us to jump ahead of God or to lag behind and miss the timing of God. Bullies are empowered when good people ignore or attempt to appease them. King Hezekiah was afraid of the Assyrians and gave them gold from the temple. Yet the Assyrians chided the nation of Judah for following after the true and living God. Hezekiah could no longer ignore nor appease the threat to his kingdom. He fell on his face and asked for God’s deliverance. In response, God miraculously delivered the nation of Judah. Sometimes God allows bullies in our lives to get us back on our knees and to seek Him first.
#5) Search out advice from other courageous believers “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22)
“Hindsight is better than foresight”—and many of us have learned this lesson the hard way. Therefore, it’s good to discuss strategy and insight from people who’ve dealt with bullies in the past. We can learn to avoid repeated mistakes and instead move towards productive progress in dealing with a bully. The body of Christ needs to build a fort of protection around the weaker believers so that their faith in God isn’t destroyed by the actions of bullies.
Bonus Tip: Take action when prompted by the Holy Spirit “Each one should test their own actions” (Galatians 6:4)
There’s no one way to deal with a bully. Every situation can be unique because of the bully, the person being victimized, and the situation surrounding the events. What’s most important is to cultivate a closeness with God in prayer and Bible study in preparation for the right and timely action. Sometimes the response to a bully may seem harsh, sublime, or impractical—yet God’s power and presence isn’t limited. His purpose and plan will stand when we courageously take action in faith.
BONUS BONUS Tip: Pray for the bully’s salvation and deliverance “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45)
Regardless of your actions—the bully isn’t your real enemy. Your enemy is Satan and he will use anyone to get your eyes off of God’s love. Keeping a prayerful attitude about a particular bully will keep you sensitive and aware of their lost soul or their need to grow up in the faith. You never know how God may intervene in the lives of the most bitter, hardened, and evil hearts to change them into the likeness of Christ for the building of God’s kingdom. Remember…nothing is too hard for God!
I hope this was of help to you. You can contact me if you have any questions or comment below. I would love to have hear from you.