Bullying Links Not a Christian?
Other Child/Youth Issues Pressure to be sexually active
General Youth Links
I remember when I was bullied at School, and the feeling of fear and dread at the thought of going to School was horrible. Equally, the feeling of joy at not being at School, or finishing the day, was a big relief. You should not have to experience these extremes. However, life is hard sometimes - and things happen which are very unfair.
You should also try to talk to a friend or adult - perhaps your parents, about what has been happening. Talk to anyone you trust, as it is good to share your troubles. If your parents won’t listen to you, keep on telling them. If they still won’t listen to you, try to find a teacher at school who will. It is very important that you get your parents or a teacher to face the bullies and make them realise that they can get into trouble for what they do. Even if you feel afraid that worse things will happen to you if you tell teachers and the bullies find this out, why not do it anyway? Can it really be any worse than it is? And do you really believe that bullies will keep their threats about what they will do if you tell on them?
Although sometimes I know that bullies might carry out their threats, hopefully they will get scared off when teachers get involved. I cannot promise that telling teachers will necessarily resolve all of the problems. It should do, but teachers cannot be there to prevent bullying all of the time. At the end of the day - you are being bullied anyway now, so you may as well try to do something about it.
God does care
You may believe in God, and perhaps you may be a Christian already. Whether you are a Christian or not, we want to encourage you that there is a God in existence, who cares about how we all feel - whether we are happy or sad. Even if you do not know whether you believe this, why not pray to God. Tell him about how you feel, and ask him for help.
Probably the worst thing about being bullied is the feeling that you know that you are about to be picked on by one or more people, and that there is nothing that you can do about it. It could be that you are just attacked through horrible words, or it could be that you are physically hurt. Both of these attacks hurt in different ways. Fear is normal - it is understandable. However, knowing that God is there with you - even when you are being bullied, can really help.
God understands completely how you feel. He shares your fear, sadness and sense of isolation. Believe the truth - if you can, that you are certainly not worthless. You are special, and God loves you. That’s why he sent Jesus to the earth 2,000 years ago to die for you. Jesus died on the cross so that you could be forgiven by God for all of the things you have done wrong. You are very special to God, and he is with you.
There is a reason why you can resist feeling fear when facing bullies. Jesus is with you, even though you cannot see him. Even if bullies can make your suffer, hurt you and make your life a misery, they cannot take away your friendship with Jesus. There is nothing that they can say or do to stop that friendship. All you have to do is start talking to Jesus again - anytime, and you will remember that he is with you, listening and encouraging you. If you are afraid that Jesus will abandon you, do not be. Even if others have done this to you, Jesus promises in the Bible that,
“I will never leave you, or forsake you” (The Bible, Joshua 1:5, Deuteronomy 31:6).
He is always there, even if life is really horrible and scary, and it certainly does not feel as if he is with you. If you are feeling guilty about something you have done wrong, which you know is separating you from Jesus, just say sorry to him, and he will forgive you. Again, God promises in the Bible that he will forgive people’s sins (1 John 1:8,9).
Even if you feel that no one else cares - there is no doubt at all (according to my experience, and that of many millions of people in the world), that Jesus cares for you.
Bullying at Work - Combating Fear
Fear can hold a significant power over people. Just as the School bully can use words and intimidation to scare his prey, so does the work bully. One of the main problems with being bullied at work is that it can be a difficult and risky process to complain. Perhaps the person who is bullying you is the Managing Director, or maybe they are friends with the Managing Director. If you complain, it will probably fall on deaf ears. You may be discriminated against, or you could even loose your job at a later date. Quite similar to the bullied child in a School, the situation can seem inescapable. It seems your lot to suffer, and it is normal to feel helpless in such a situation.
Bullying has a psychological effect. It often undermines personal confidence, making people feel almost permanently uncomfortable. Sufferers experience mental stress, and if the problem persists, other problems such as depression could ensue. The thing about bullying is that it seems to place an unbelievable pressure and restriction on people. If you are being bullied, you usually won’t be enjoying life, worrying about your pressures at work, and what the boss will think when you don’t perform to unrealistic expectations.
Bullying is serious because it has serious effects. It may be appropriate for you to see a doctor, as someone known well to me did. My contact had to take calming, antidepressant pills, and was off work because of mental stress. Without doubt you should at least share your suffering with whoever you can - a friend or someone known to you who you can trust.
To make things worse, in extreme cases where you feel your only option is to change jobs, this might be impossible. Maybe this is because of your age, your set of skills and experiences, or your geographical location. It could be very difficult to find another job - whether in the same or a different industry. On top of this, there is the chance that your reference may be unfairly negative, perhaps because you have tried to stand up for yourself about the bullying. Unless your financial situation affords it, be careful about giving your job up and then claiming government benefit, as in many countries, you will have to prove that you were being bullied, which may be very difficult.
Sickness payment for mental stress from a place of work is not always guaranteed, so you may want to get some official public advice. Nervous breakdowns happens to many people, often when their own problems or particular sources of stress, remain undealt with. It is better to keep your health and and loose your job, than to fall apart with long term damage. However, if you have financial or family commitments it is understandable that you will feel trapped by your situation. What I can say is - get help from where ever you can.
Help from Above
There are varying degrees of bullying severity. Whatever the degree that you are experiencing, we want to offer some hope and encouragement to you. We believe that God can help us in many ways when we suffer. It is also prudent to get support from others. In your relationship with Jesus, the Lord might inspire or help you in many ways. When you pray to him, and really call on him, you may experience a deep peace, and a spiritual empowerment. Fear can be a powerful force, and it is a normal reaction when you are bullied. However, with your faith in God, fear can be confronted.
As I have said, the risk of loosing your job if you complain or stand up for yourself is often a real one. We cannot give any specific advice about the wisdom of proactively countering bullying, as obviously every situation is different. None the less, what is clear is this: if you believe in Jesus, then you are a child of God, and you are saved. No bully can take this away, and this can be a real comfort. Looking at the Bible, we read;
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
We can know that these words are of encouragement to us. We are forgiven by God for our sin, so the power of fear itself is broken in our lives. We do not have to be overwhelmed or controlled by fear. The context of the passage is of having boldness to preach the Gospel and hold to the truth. If you are being unfairly victimised and treated badly, the reality is that God is in support of you. He is on your side: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
We are all important to God, and your suffering is before his eyes. May you have hope in your suffering, as it says: “...in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose....We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:28, 37). Not only do we have freedom from the death that our own sin has caused, we also have hope now and in the future to enjoy life with God. May you sense this hope in your difficult situation.
Jesus says in the Gospels, “Do not fear those who kill the Body, but then can do nothing to you.” Bullies can seem to threaten our whole lives, including perhaps our future financial security. They can rob us of happiness, just by their attitude towards us. But, don’t be afraid. Know Jesus is there with you.
Use the Bible, and the truth you know about God and how good he feels about you, to combat fear. The reasons why bullies do what they do are perhaps less important. They may be inadequate, they may have very empty lives, they may have a sinful enjoyment of abusing their power. On top of this, the enemy can use victimisation to bring us down spiritually, threatening our faith and hope in God.
Many or most work places can be stressful environments. Some work colleagues might seem unreasonable or harsh to us, but the reality is that they are not doing so deliberately or maliciously. It is important to make the distinction between true work bullies and people like this. Work colleagues might be so stressed by work pressure that they off load this stress on to us. This is not nice to experience, but should be seen in perspective, and can be got used to and tolerated.
There are a lot of different problems and pressures that you may be experiencing if you are a child, or a young person (in your teens, or almost in your teens!). Bullying is just one of these problems. You could be lonely. You may be suffering abuse, sexual or physical. You could feel depressed. Maybe your parents are in the process of a divorce, which is painful for everyone, including yourself. Perhaps your parents are irresponsible, and get involved in drugs or the occult. Maybe they take little notice of you. Maybe they take too much notice; they don’t give you enough freedom, and they try to control your life.
It could be that you are under pressure to (or want to) “take things all the way” sexually, with a boyfriend or girlfriend. We at the site think that to do this would be a big mistake. We explain why in the section below. It would be very hard to address each of these issues individually, but I want to say just a few things to hopefully help and encourage many of you.
How to get Help
Some of the advice in this section below is quite similar to that found in the section above on bullying. You might want to read that section as well as this, if you have not already done so. It is really important that you tell other people about the problems that you are experiencing, even if you are afraid of what they will think of you. Make sure you only tell a friend, or someone else that you know, who you know you can actually trust. You don’t want them telling the whole world about what’s going on. You should also try to get some practical help. Have a look at the links and contacts below.
Describe to God how you feel. Having said this, maybe you are not currently a Christian. Whether you are a Christian or not, have a look at the section above called “We care, and so does God”. It explains how God can help you by walking with you through your problems. Also, if you are not a Christian, the contact points and links below might be interesting, under ”Not a Christian?”. If you have a relationship with Jesus, you can tell him about how you feel. You know he is with you whatever the problems you have, or the pain you feel. Have a look at the side bar of buttons to the left. For example, if you are depressed, you can get some support from the material and links in the section “Depressed/ Hurt”.
So, why do we think it is worth avoiding having sex when it is available to you? Well, at the site, we firmly believe that sex should only be for marriage. Call us old fashioned, some of you may, but that’s our position. More importantly, though, is to say why. We must have some reason. When you want to go ahead and enjoy the pleasures of youth, and nothing’s stopping you, why throw a spanner in “nature’s” works? Well, basically, because it is best for your spiritual and emotional health to do so.
With the way God designed us - mentally, physically and spiritually, we believe it is the case that sexual relations is meant to be part of a lifelong committed partnership. I can’t prove this in any scientific way. If there were no resource restraints on the site, I would be happy to spend the time writing a fully explanation about our thinking. We can also say that if you are interested, you can read the Bible, or talk to some Christians you know, and ask them more about why this is the belief of Christians.
We also want to say that you should be careful not to go too far in intimacy with a boyfriend or girlfriend. You could be tempted to go too far - i.e. all the way. Also, commitment should dictate the extent of a physical relationship, and if you are young, you are unlikely to be about to get married to your boyfriend/girlfriend (even if you believe that you will later). If you don’t wait, you will just get more hurt when you break up. Even if you don’t feel it, some spiritual damage to yourself will be done.
God can help to mend this, but it is best to be avoided; prevention is better than cure. On the practical side, it is obviously sensible to take contraceptive precautions for anyone who does have sex and does not want to risk pregnancy or catching a sexually transmitted disease from the other person. This is a further reason to avoid a casual attitude to sex: you never know where people have been.
How about if you want a girlfriend or boyfriend, but don’t have one? You may feel like the odd one out. Well, it can certainly be hard if most of the people around you seem to be going out with someone. Patience can be hard to come by, but try to get it. Be disciplined, pull yourself together!!!! It can be particularly hard for young people who go to single sex schools. If you don’t want to have a girlfriend or boyfriend, but feel under pressure, then don’t be pushed into it. It’s your life; don’t be rushed. Just make an excuse if you are grilled by friends, or if you are brave enough, tell the truth! Be your own boss!!!
Finally, I want to say a quick word to those who are sexually confused. I mean by this that you are attracted to people of the same sex as your own. Again, on this subject, we are being quite old fashioned in the eyes of most people today. We think it is not good or right for anyone to feel this, and certainly not to allow it to lead to any physical sexual contact. The reasons for same sex attraction are perhaps quite complex. However, it is fairly widely accepted that it is quite a common thing in teenagers, whose hormones can be a little unbalanced as they grow up.
As usual, if you want to know more about why we believe these feelings are unhealthy, then have a look at the Bible, or ask some Christians who echo our belief. We believe that guys were meant for girls, and visa versa, and that people will be happiest, in the truest sense, with this situation. We have every sympathy if you are experiencing these sorts of difficult feelings and temptations.
Please send us an e-mail prayer request if you want us to pray for you on this issue; click here. As always, if you have anything to say, then you can write an article - see that section’s link at the top of the page. Perhaps you want to add to what we have said, by explaining more about the Christian stance on this issue from the Bible’s perspective.