It seems that bullying has become a common topic recently. Many news articles have centered on the effects of bullying. Children have been harmed by bullying that goes on at school or through the Internet. People's jobs can be difficult because of workplace bullying. So many other issues may be caused by bullying, as well. This is not right.
Bullying comes in many forms. It can be through name-calling, which is also known as verbal abuse. It can be through pushing, shoving, and other aggressive behaviors. Workplace bullying can include sexual harassment, put-downs, racial tensions, being passed by for promotions, and other senseless acts. This is wrong. According to Feist & Feist (2009), "Once established, people continue to aggress for at least five reasons: (1) They enjoy inflicting injury on the victim (positive reinforcement); (2) they avoid or counter the aversive consequences of aggression by others (negative reinforcement); (3) they receive injury or harm for not behaving aggressively (punishment); (4) they live up to their personal standards of conduct by their aggressive behavior (self-reinforcement); and (5) they observe others receiving rewards for aggressive acts or punishment for nonaggressive behavior," (Feist, J. & Feist, G.J., Theories of Personality, 7th ed., Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, p. 500).
Today's society is not the society of yesteryear. The stereotypes that existed in the past are no longer acceptable. People are individuals and, as such, should be afforded the opportunity to be themselves. No matter what, there is no reason to bully others. In school, at work, or wherever a person might be, the environment should feel safe and at ease. To be put under undue stress, caused by bullying, is inappropriate.
When a person is the victim of bullying, it can have many adverse effects. Anxiety, depression, worthlessness, sadness, and fear are all possible outcomes. The psychological pain can sometimes be worse than any physical pain that could accompany bullying. The emotional pain can cut deeply. With time, physical ailments may be brought about by the underlying stress of being bullied. Relationships become strained, at best. Children skip school, people quit jobs, and other actions may come about. Each of these can bring about further hardships for those involved.
The Bible gives us instructions as to how to live our lives. This includes how to get along with others. Ephesians 4:29-32 says, "No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. [And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ," (The New American Bible, 1987, Wichita, KS: Devore & Sons, Inc.). God wants us to be encouraging to one another, and to treat each other with kindness. To behave in a different manner is likened to the Devil. The Devil lures people to lie, cheat, stir up jealousy, and to treat others in unkind ways. The Devil looks at the outside appearance; God looks at the heart.
Before saying an unkind word, stop and think about what it is that is about to be said. Take a moment to find a better way to say it. If this is not possible, then it needs to remain unsaid. Help make bullying a thing of the past.