1) Lack of trust in our identity in Christ: When we do not understand that we are completely loved by Christ, we start to find our value in other things. It might be that we find our worth in how well we do at school, how well we play a sport, how many instruments we can play, etc. For parents, you may find that your identity is wrapped around how well your children do in these areas as well. When we begin to find our identity in these temporary things, we realize that our value is easy to lose. There is always a threat that someone will be smarter, more talented, more athletic, etc. than we are. We will never be "good enough" or the "best" at any of these things. When we realize we can never be the best, we try to find ways to make ourselves feel better than we are, by putting other people down. Feeling like we are better than other people allows us to feel more secure about ourselves. This is the start of bullying.
2) Pride: As we start to find ways to make ourselves feel better, we also begin to find pride in what we think we have accomplished or what we think we have earned. We begin to feel superior to other people. When we feel we are superior over another person, then we are tempted to look down on them. We build pride and attribute our "awesomeness" to something we have been able to achieve rather than blessings from God. We take the glory for ourselves instead of glorifying God.
3) Need to be in control: When we build pride over others, we may want to control them. This may come off as if we know better than they do, trying to impose our ideas on them, or making fun of them when they do something differently than we do. Because we want to maintain our standing as better than they are, we want to control them to maintain dominance or superiority. We do not want them to be better than us. So then what? How can we be saved from this cycle? Through Christ, of course! We must know that Christ came down because He loved as just as we were. There is no need to feel insecure about who we are, and therefore no need to have pride about where we stand in front of other people, and therefore no reason to feel like we have to control anyone else. Christ redeems us and delivers us from becoming a bully.
1 John 4: 9-11 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Until next time,