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Monday, February 25, 2008

What does God have to say about bullying?

Devotional for Kids

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to be patient.
“And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.
“Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5: 3-5 The Living Bible

Everybody in the whole wide world has some kind of problem. Rich people, people in powerful positions, like the president of the United States, the popular athletic kid in your school, and even the person who gives you a hard time.

The person who tries to bully you may have bigger problems than you. Because he doesn’t know how to handle them he takes it out on you. Sometimes bullies look so big and strong, but underneath all that show, they can be scared wimps with poor self esteem. So they act tough.

What can you do to protect yourself from bullies and to help other kids who are being bullied? If you have been reading my other devotionals you already know my first answer. It’s always prayer. I’ve learned it works. It helped me as a kid and it’s my first line of defense as an adult. It’s through prayer and reading your Bible that God can tell you how to deal with your problems, like bullying.

There are lots of stories about bullying in the Bible, but the one that comes to my mind is about David and Goliath. Goliath thought he had it all together. No way could an ordinary soldier or kid like David, conquer him. Were he and his army in for a big surprise!

David had God on his side and it was God who gave him the idea of using his slingshot and five small stones. It was God who gave the Israelites the victory that day by making that little stone hit that small unprotected spot on Goliath’s forehead.

Don’t ever under estimate your power and ability when you have God on your side. In the Bible in 2 Chronicles chapter 16 verse 9, God says that His eyes search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward him, so He can show His great power in helping them. If you are God’s child this means you. You may not always be perfect but God looks at you through Jesus who died for your sin.

You should always tell your parents or teacher or leader of the group in which you are being bullied what’s going on. Sometimes they can stop it; other times they can teach you how to handle it. Bullying that hurts you physically should always be stopped immediately.

It isn’t good for your parents or even your teacher to fix all your problems because then you will never learn how to deal with people. This is all part of learning people skills too. And it’s as you learn to handle your difficulties that you grow confident and knowledgeable in all things of life; that’s what makes you mature and capable.

I was blessed with a big brother in school and I was tall for my age. My brother, Ken, was the tallest and strongest kid in my school. Although he never took advantage of it, kids knew they couldn’t mess with him. It’s good to have a big brother or friend around that the other kids know will stand by you and protect you.

Sometimes bullies pick on kids that have poor self esteem or look like they won’t fight back. You don’t have to be popular, or extra good looking, or be funny or tough to win over bullies. The Bible says, “My strength comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” [Psalm 121: verse 2]

You can be strong and confident because you know God loves you unconditionally. In the morning as you pray, ask God to prepare your day and give you wisdom so you know how to handle each situation and problem. You have a big God - the same one who helped David conquer Goliath- he can handle your giant bully too.

Going deeper as parents:

We need to be available for our children and sensitive to their needs. Talk with your child; ask him how things are in his world. Bullied kids can be so intimidated they won’t even tell their fears to their parent or teacher. Ask their siblings or classmates how your child is getting along with others.


Talk to the bully’s parents. Most parents want to stop undesirable behavior in their kids and will seek help for their child. But sometimes a parent will be in denial and become angry with you for even suggesting that their “sweet” child is a bully. Sometimes they will say your child deserved being bullied because he’s a wimp and needs to grow up.

We can’t fix every problem for our children but we can help them avoid them and handle them in the best way possible. Sometimes the bullying only ends with a move or when the school year ends, no matter what we do.

It’s important to teach your children life skills and people skills so they feel competent and confident. Build a strong relationship with your children. Spend time with them and know them. Know their friends and how they spend their time.

Pray together with them. Read to them how God was faithful to our heroes in the Bible and gave them strategies. They will find new strength in your and God’s unconditional love.

If we have a close relationship with God it plays out in every area of our life. It grows His character and wisdom and way in our thoughts and then in our lives. It makes us who we are. It makes us competent in all areas as we learn His principles and then apply them.

God’s word says that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. As we spend time reading His Word and praying situations through us learn His principles and gain His wisdom on handling life His way.

Role play strategies with your child on how to handle bullies without escalating the conflict so he doesn’t get hurt. Tell your child to avoid being alone with the other child. Inform him how to get support from the other kids to place peer pressure against the bully’s behavior.



Be your child’s advocate. Find out all the information you can by first talking with your child, but also talk with his teacher and friends and other students who observed the bullying. Ask the teacher and principle for adult intervention. If they don’t become involved, write the superintendent. Don’t tolerate bullying and don’t teach your child to tolerate it.

What about you? Do you feel like you can’t help your child because you are being bullied? Yes, adults too are bullied.

The strategies I’ve written about also apply to you. Find a counselor or mentor to help you look at the situation from God’s perspective. God says we are to acknowledge Him, put Him first, in all our ways and He will direct our paths. The action and responsibility falls on us but He is faithful as we obey. He works it out.

Memory verse for this week:

“If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself.
“In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” Proverbs 3: verses 4, 5 and 6 [The Living Bible]

Want to know more about how God can help you every day? Check out my new book The Lion Tree at http://www.ruthwillms.com/

Look for my new unpublished story, An Anniversary Surprise, at http://www.ruthwillms.com/

Ruth

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yea, I agree with you. That is how to prevent bulling. Thank you, That paragraph helped me alot for prepring a lesson for the sunday school kids. :D