For the past few days, I’ve listened to stories of cyber bullying. One friend tells of a young girl, with Autism. One day, she is asked “Would you like to go to the prom, with me?”
She accepted the date and they had a wonderful time; however, a tragedy occurred. At one point,they are surrounded by a pack of wolves.
They thought it acceptable to harass and mock the young couple. To add insult, someone recorded it and posted it on the Internet. It saddens my heart to hear such a story.
With the sadness, I felt a rising sense of anger. It should not be this way! I could give out names; however, I am not going to go down such a dark path. How do I know? I am no stranger to bullying.
The sad reality is, bullying has been going on, for centuries. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun; this includes cyber bullying. What can be done? There is another way.
I don’t want to engage in the all too common practice of complaining about the shameful situation. I would like to offer some ideas and solutions that have worked for me. I would encourage you, to read and decide for yourself.
I visited the channel of a popular YouTube entertainer or YouTuber. The young man is known for creating family friendly content based on video games. As a Christian, I have found his content entertaining and it serves as a useful distraction. By the way, the young man is a Christian.
A week ago, the guy started a series based on Grand Theft Auto V Online (GTAV). If you don’t know, this game is known for its rough language and violence. It’s not a kid’s game and I’m not endorsing it.
Knowing the content, I was intrigued by a question. “This young man is a Christian. How is he going to deal with the issue presented by the game?” There are some things he surely would not do.
For privacy reason, I am not giving out the name of the YouTuber or his channel. I will commend the young man in endeavoring to exercise restraint of his tongue. Though I am glad of his self restraint; the same can’t be said of certain viewers on his channel. Thankfully, they don’t speak for the majority of his audience.
When the man started his series, he did go a little overboard with tame profanity. I didn’t like seeing the young man go overboard. It’s bad enough that the game has it; I don’t need to hear it, from a favorite YouTube entertainer. Thankfully, the man does care about his viewers and he simply wants to create entertaining videos.
What does this have to do with cyber bullying? Because of the illusion of anonymity on the Internet, cyber bullies launch their attacks on their prey. For this reason, I compared them, to a pack of wolves or hyenas.
They love to go after the weak and they think no one will see or know. Truth is, this anonymity is an illusion. Before they begin their attacks, there are two people, who know their identity. The attackers and God, Almighty.
That’s right, my Father can see what is done in secret. There is nothing hidden from Him. Did you not know? Even darkness is not dark, God, the Father (Ps 139:11-12). Is God indifferent to what happens on the Internet? Think again!
My Father does care about those, who are hurting and the one, who is doing the hurt. Haven’t you heard? My Father is the God of Love; as per 1 John 4:8. If this is so, then I should expect my Father to care. Right?
Shall we get back to the story? I did voice my opinion and I shared it, on the man’s YouTube channel. As it happens, I was not the only person, who voiced an opinion.
Naturally, some people strongly objected to such an opinion and they proceeded to attack. The funny thing is, we weren’t complaining about the game; rather it was the YouTuber’s conduct. We thought he was going a little overboard.
Did you know that you have a choice? I could have reacted to the situation, in one of two ways: fight or flee. Both reactions stem from an instinctive need to protect ourselves. Of course, there is a third option.
In the past, I’d have reacted with anger and retaliated. Oh, how the bullies loved that reaction! If possible, they’d have plastered it on YouTube or Facebook. They’d have done it, for the mileage.
What of the impulse to flee?. Nobody like being mocked and ridiculed. It’s not always easy to stand up, to those bigger than you. It can be quite scary. I was born with physical disabilities and I have an older brother, who likes showing off his muscle.
He did not do any harm; however, the antics were a little intimidating. It’s probably the reason that I was not bothered by the bigger kids. Their size and strength simply didn’t intimidate me.
What of the third option? Did you know that you have a choice? You don’t have to be afraid and you are not alone! I am going to share some suggestions that may help you.
Some time ago, I discovered a simple truth. I have a choice. I can chose to react in fear, or I can choose to respond in an unexpected fashion. I can choose the language of love, compassion and forgiveness.
I have come to know and believe that my Father loves and cares for me. It didn’t happen, overnight. In time, I came to learn about the genuine love that God has for the children of God. Guess what? I am still learning.
Did you not know that perfect love toss out fear on its rear. That’s right! You don’t need to be afraid. Fear can’t co-exist in the presence of God’s love. For perfect love casts out all fear. Take a look at 1 John 4:16-19
16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us.
Let’s up this, a notch. Did you not know that God has not given his children, a spirit of fear and timidity? Rather, we’re given a spirit of power, love and self-control or sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
For this reason, I felt encouraged to speak up and I shared my thoughts in a kind and respectful manner. I suspect that the YouTube entertainer did read my comment; as I did see a “Like” on it. Plus, I did notice a greater level of restraint and I did commend him, for it.
I chose to respond in a spirit of love and encouragement. What about the cyber bullies? Did I get attacked? Someone else posted his own complaint about the language and related items. For some reason, they decided to attack him.
In the past, I would often choose to fight the bullies, with my mouth. You would think that the taunts did nothing more than antagonize me; you’d be sadly mistaken. I was hurting inside and I did not know how to deal with it.
Did you know that you have a choice? For me, I unconsciously chose to internalize the hurts and believe the lies. Though I got angry and retaliated, I didn’t deal with the wounds in my heart. I unwittingly chose to hold on to it.
Here comes the medicine! Years later, I would learn about the power to choose to believe the truth of God’s Word and the words of good friends. It’s not enough to memorize a favorite verse. You have to choose to believe what God says in His Word..
Guess what? When I chose to believe God; I was set free and I began the journey of learning the truth of my Father’s love for me. In time, my heart became healed of those wounds. I’m not a prisoner of what my tormentors say.
You do not have to be a prisoner of what the cyber bullies say. You can choose a different path. With God’s help, you can be set free from the bondage of fear and intimidation.
How did I deal with the cyber bullies, who objected to my standing up for someone? Did you know that we’re to stand up, for those in need? Here’s Jeremiah 22:16:
16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?”
declares the Lord.
However, I am to act wisely in my endeavor to help. Here’s a good tip from James 1:19. Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. Here’s another tip. I can’t force someone, to listen or go my way. I can only control myself.
Will he choose to listen to kind word of encouragement? Will he choose to react in anger, towards the bullies. Will he choose to run away from the pain of hurtful words? It’s the person’s responsibility to choose.
What happened? We chose to ignore the taunts of the bullies and we handed the matter to Jesus. We, also chose to pray for the YouTuber. Cyber bullies can only drag you down; if you let them.
Why didn’t I confront the cyber bullies? The answer is twofold. The first part lies on this pearl of wisdom: Haters will hate. It actually comes from Proverbs 9:8.Read it, for yourself.
Here’s the second part. Cyber bullies have something in common with scoffers and mockers. They thrive on conflicts, strife and attention. If you don’t feed them, then they will eventually leave.
Here is what I found in Proverbs 22:10:
10 Remove the mocker and conflict disappears;
judgment and shame also stop.
33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? [Romans 8:33-35]
If you don’t know Jesus; you’re not out of luck. Behold! Jesus stands knocking at the door of your heart and he wants to come in. It’s your choice, to answer the door and open it.
I trust this blog post is of help and a blessing to you. I’d love to hear your inputs in the comments, below. What other areas could I cover? Would you like to read about prayer and forgiveness? For me, it’s a powerful tool and it is a great source for healing.
Have a blessed day!