[vimeo id="98760561"] Don’t let the title fool you – I can’t stand church bullies or bullying in general. I came across a great post by Erik Parker on his blog – the millennial pastor – where he shared some reasons why it’s ‘good’ to be the church bully. Having dealt with a few church bullies myself during my time as a pastor, I was immediately drawn to the post. Even though the post was meant to be funny, I thought his ideas were excellent and worth sharing with you today along with some of my own input.
First, bullies get away with their behavior because people will think that challenging them is unchristian. This is sad, but true. However, I believe that it’s absolutely noble and admirable to stand up to people who are being abusive to others and causing disunity in the church. I think Christians can be too soft at times and need to have a bit more of a backbone to set people straight. Christians unfortunately would rather avoid conflict than to confront bullies head on. However, I encourage you to not let bullies dictate your life. Se be courageous and stand up for yourself and others. In fact, Jesus did it – don’t be afraid to follow His example.
Second, bullies don’t have to be open or transparent. True Christ-followers never have an issue with being open, but bullies do. That’s a benefit that they definitely enjoy. Often bullies don’t have to put their name and face behind what they’re doing. They enjoy the benefit of operating from the shadows and running rumor mills. They can send anonymous notes to the pastor and criticize them or just spread lies about the leadership of the church or organization. Either way they hide away and rarely accept responsibility.
Third, bullies will be the first to play the victim card when caught. Mature leaders and Christ followers don’t have a problem accepting responsibility, but bullies do. When bullies finally get called out on their actions, they’ll immediately turn around the accusation to the person calling them out. After all the bullies are the victims, right? Not really. Either way, the bully will try to make others feel guilty for calling them out. Since in their mind they’re they believe they’re innocent. So for the bully, it’s good to play the victim.
Fourth, bullies don’t have to care about any one else. Real Christ-followers put other before themselves. Bullies on the other hand are all about themselves and will play on other’s insecurities and weaknesses to get what they want. For bullies, only their idea matters. They’re extremely self-centered and focused on their own wants and selfish desires. In fact, to them, other people’s needs are just an inconvenience because they get in the bully’s way. So it’s good to be the bully when all that matters is you.
These are just some of the characteristics that Erik highlighted. Obviously, no one likes being bullied and if you’re facing bullies then don’t be afraid to stand up to them.
I think that all bullies suffer from deep insecurities and have very low self-esteem. They’re extremely self-centered and will only look to their own advancement. Bullies need to be corrected because not only is the health of the church or organization on the line, but also the bully’s. They need to be confronted and dealt with in a biblical way. When you do stand up to them, always do so with the intention of restoring them to who God truly designed them to be.
Have you dealt with some bullies in your life? What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear from you – I hope you have a great day!