Cyber Bullying: How To Respond In A Christian Way

Hello everyone! I’m finally back after a few weeks “break” (I had a lot of exams to do), we’ve got a new website (and it is awesome), we’re covering much more content, so my weekly thoughts won’t be only about games, but we’ll get a wider Christian view of the “Geek” world: today’s article is an example of this.

For the new readers: what I try to do with my weekly reflections is to give a Christian perspective on games, technology and other things that wouldn’t normally seem to require such a perspective.

I’m a seminarian, so I’m studying theology, philosophy and the Holy Bible, and I hope my contribution can be somehow helpful for your spiritual life, please pray for me to succeed in doing in an effective manner.

What I want to talk about today is cyber bullying.

Now, some people might say this isn’t as bad as “real life” bullying, but I completely disagree.

When we say “bullying” the first thing we normally think about is a person beating up another one, but the truth is that sometimes words can be as painful as fists and kicks (and even much more…). “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”

This is the reason why cyber bullying has to be considered as bad as “regular” bullying: on the internet you can only use words to hurt someone, but the victim suffers nonetheless… and sometimes we even hear about suicide as a consequence of cyber bullying. This is a serious problem and it doesn’t have to be underestimated.

Bullying can be defined as “making someone feel miserable” in various ways.

On the internet this can happen on online games, forums or social networks.

So the big question is how can a Christian, today, respond to cyber bullying?

I’ll try to read this problem in light of the commandment of love.

We know that this commandment (in short: love God and love others) should always reign over a Christian life. Loving God and the others is the first thing one should keep in mind when interacting with others.

We can look at two possible bullying situations that can happen while surfing the net or playing an online game.

The first possible situation I’d like to portray is when you are a victim of a bully. In this situation, as difficult as it can be, you can turn towards God, fully living the commandment of loving Him with all your heart, soul and mind (Cf. Matthew 22, 35-40). If the love toward God is what gives a sense to your life, nothing will scare you… not even people who bully you. He’ll be your shield, and what a shield He is!

The second situation is this: you are playing an online match, or you’re chatting on a forum and you see someone being bullied by someone else.

Now this is a bit of a more difficult situation, because the bullying doesn’t directly involve you, and yet you are a Christian… you can’t just stand there and watch.

I think it’s very important for a Christian to intervene in this kind of situations. But how can you do it in a correct manner that is also effective?

Once again, we have to consider the commandment of love. This time, considering the love toward your neighbor: loving him as yourself.

This second part of the commandment always seem to be more difficult, but the reality of the matter is that it is not. If you really love God, loving others comes as a natural consequence. The point is, often we think we love God, but we actually don’t… and the first time He refuses to remain in our schemes, and asks something difficult for us, we turn our backs on Him.

So how do you apply this second part of the commandment to a bullying scenario?

Of course, as the victim is your neighbor, you need to intervene, stopping the bully and protecting the weak, that needs to be done, but here’s something that not many people consider: the bully himself is your neighbor as well.

You have an obligation toward the victim, but also toward the bully, and while you can’t let him torment the victim, you have to think of his own good.

Of course, this is just a generic indication (as there are many possible scenarios and we can play the what if game all day), but it’s something we should keep in mind.

So, in both cases love is the answer… it often is. The attention towards the others comes natural when you love them, and loving them also comes natural when you love God. Letting him be present in our life is the only way to know him better, and to start trully loving him… seeing his commandment of love not just as a law that has to be respected, but as something that has to go deep in our heart and mind.

Only then will we know how to deal with difficult situations, such as cyber bullying.

Have you ever been cyber bullied? Have you ever witnessed someone being cyber bullied? What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments below!

Drew Koehler

Founder and writer for Geeks Under Grace. Christian, Husband, Father, Sailor and Geek!

9 Comments

  1. Krissy on August 22, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Hello
    I’m a Christian Star Wars fan and I was cyber bullied today on TheForce.net. Several Star Wars fan and even a moderator harassed me for commenting that I would not want Ahsoka Tano to be portrayed as bisexual in the new novel and that my reasoning was my Christian beliefs. I have no problem with people respectfully disagreeing with me but no one cared about showing a Christian any respect. You can view my struggle here as KnightWolf: http://goo.gl/JA9T0e
    -Krissy

  2. Rijen Spirit on August 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Check out PBS Game/Show’s video about online bullying, and we are Christians can make the change.

  3. Daniel on July 12, 2014 at 4:21 am

    The first scenario has a good answer, but the second one… I think you can add more to it.

    First we have to consider one thing, and that is that God is in completely control of everything (Mt 5:45). That being said, everything that happens is because HE wants it to happen because he is sovereign. Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m telling you that there is nothing that we can do about anything because it is not in our control, we actually can because God uses us to do His will (Phil 2:13), but we don’t have an obligation to do anything, rather we are moved by God to do His will on the things that happen around us for the world to see His power and how he changes people’s lives.

    I will include an example of what I’m saying in order to make myself clear. A police officer is trained so that it can protect a civilians life at all cost. He has to act in order to achieve this and if he doesn’t do anything then it’s not acting like a police man, but he ONLY does that because has that job. With God, we are all Christians and we have one job, that is to reflect Jesus in our lives, not to help God, not to order anything from Him, not to ask Him for anything, but to actually REFLECT Jesus in our lives, so God looks at us and see His work in us (Jn 14:6). With any scenario that happens around us, no matter what you might call it we have to help others with joy (Ga 6:9,10) but never as an act of vengeance to the person hurting the victim.

    Sometimes in life God uses discipline in His work to teach us something beyond our knowledge and pain has to be there because he can only act in us when we have nothing else to embrace but Him (2 Co 12:10). So we have to think before actually involve ourselves in a situation where God is doing His will on others, rather let Him work on that person so he can see God in his life and maybe then we can show that person how God changes our miserable lives for lives full of His love and lessons that we wouldn’t change for anything this world has to offer us (Mar 8:36)

  4. Chris on July 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    You know, I never would have thought that cyber bullying would have become something tangible and real when you consider how far technology has leaped in the past decade. That being said, I agree that this is an issue that needs to be taken with an offensive approach. We as Christians do have an obligation to intercede in cyber bullying situations to ease tensions between the aggressor and victim as it is a blatant attack on our neighbor. It’s just the right thing to do. To put it another way, we are diplomatic Jedi in this situation, seeking to restore peace between two parties and reach an understanding that would be acceptable to not only those involved, but more importantly to God.

    • fhornplayer on July 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      That’s probably the best way I’ve ever heard it described. We really do act more like diplomatic Jedi than anything else. The problem that I think we must content with the most would be our inability to engage in civil discourse across pixelated discussions. Our culture doesn’t really inspire too much humility, and the blame is easily tossed from side to side; let alone actually submitting that you’re wrong.

      And while I agree that praying about it a great answer, I think the heart of the problem can be resolved through education. (Not indoctrination, though.) No one can ever take your education away from you. It is what empowers those in need to see solutions in troubling times. Education gives hope. And to be completely honest, I fully believe the Gospel inspires education as well.

  5. Parker on July 7, 2014 at 4:15 am

    I’m just taking a gander at the Good Samaritan passage of the Bible, but it would seem to imply that the bully isn’t our neighbor (Jesus asks ‘Who is the neighbor to the man?’ rather than ‘Who is the BETTER neighbor…?’). I’m not saying I don’t think we should treat a bully with love, but I guess I just don’t understand what obligation we owe him/her.

    • Daniele Andreuzzi on July 8, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      Jesus’ question is more like “who behaved like a neighbour?”. What you’re trying to understand is better specified by another new testament passage: Mt 5,43-48 (“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.)

  6. Wisknort on July 6, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    That doesn’t really answer the question, I guess… It’s a very roundabout way of saying “pray about it”.

    Something that I tend to do, if I can figure out how to make it work, is to jump in to the victim’s aid, and go on the offence – troll the troll. Once they’ve entirely forgotten what they were originally doing, and are focused on arguing with me, I laugh the whole thing off. Of course, I do that most of the way through – I make it clear that what I’m doing is just to try and make everyone laugh, but I keep that slightly snippy undertone to dig at the bully until they attack me back. Probably not the best solution, but hey, it means something I can laugh about later – and hopefully so can everyone else.

    • Daniele Andreuzzi on July 6, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      That’s a good thing 🙂
      I didn’t answer the question directly because there is no answer… as I said there are many possible scenarios, so how could I give a single universal solution?

Leave a Reply