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A Christian Response to Bullying
by Cate Russell-Cole
6/19/2015 / Christian Living
Several years ago I read an article on bullying in the workplace which asked how the workplace had become such a war zone. Most of us have had to deal with difficult bosses and co-workers at some stage of our lives, but I was astonished to learn that the degree of aggro some people face leads to clinical depression and sometimes, suicide.
Bullying is a term we think of in relation to school kids, not adults. Sadly, bullying in the workplace is present in Australian society in almost epidemic proportions. Workers are often made fun of, excluded, unreasonably criticised and at times even physically harassed and assaulted. There are few laws to protect them. Bullying doesn't alway occur because someone is incompetent, or physically or racially different. It can also happen because they are outstanding workers. Just like the school yard, if you stand out in any way, good or bad, you can become a target of serial bullies. These are people who make it their lifestyle to humiliate others to smother their own feelings of inadequacy. It is a power game.
I've had bosses who have been abrasive. I found that once I understood where their hearts were at, I was able to look past the prickles and we got along well. However, I find dealing with people that throw their weight around extremely hard to handle. How would I cope with that kind of behaviour as a Christian? Turning the other cheek or being a peacemaker is the ideal move in some situations, however, if someone is really stressing you and you are not able to just leave that job, being placid can make it worse. What do you do?
The Bible makes it very clear that vengeance is a NO! That is for good reason. Not only will you harm your character and reputation, you can also easily create grounds on which you can be disciplined or fired. God's remedy is to be true to yourself and your faith. Bless those that curse you; stand your ground by standing in the fruit of the Spirit and the good character that entails. Pray for them to be saved, moved on, or that God will open up a better job opportunity for you. If bullying is occurring because your work is excellent, don't drop the standard and cheat yourself.
If you are targeted because you are a Christian, as unwelcome as it is, that is the persecution we can all face as Christians. Your light is being seen by someone who finds that threatening. Your goodness is inflaming their inadequacy. Stand strong in your faith and pray that their hearts will soften to the Gospel.
Whatever the reason that you are being bullied, remember, God is for us. He has plans to give us hope and a future. Let your experience be part of what makes you stronger and not what makes you give way.
For more information on bullying, please visit: http://www.bullyonline.org/
This article by Cate Russell-Cole is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Written in Australian English.
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