Are you being bullied? Please don’t feel that you are alone. Lots of people–children and adults– are bullied every day–at school and work, by gangs, on social media, and even in private situations.
I once worked with a man who smeared several packets of mayonnaise inside another co-worker’s glove while away on lunch break. When the victim returned to put his glove back on, guess what? He was the object of laughter all around the work area.
And we all know how kids sometimes mock and belittle their peers by playing pranks on other students, especially those who appear disadvantaged in one way or another.
Being bullied isolates you and makes you want to hide. It makes you feel all alone. It may make you feel unloved, depressed and misunderstood.
But, there is one person who knows exactly what you are going through. Jesus, too, was bullied.
The Bible says that Jesus is our High Priest, who sympathizes with all our weaknesses because he suffered everything that we experience in our lives. (Hebrews 4:15) This means– he knows exactly how it feels to be bullied.
Consider the following five ways that Jesus was bullied:
- Jesus was mocked and beaten by Roman soldiers.
Jesus was mocked and ridiculed by the Roman soldiers after the governor, Pontius Pilate, condemned him to be crucified.
The Bible says the soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. (Scarlet and purple clothing were usually only worn by royalty and prominent citizens.)
They crafted a crown by twisting a thorny vine and placed it on his head. Then, they put a stick in his hand to resemble a king’s scepter.
“And they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail King of the Jews!
As if that wasn’t enough, they spit on him, took the stick from his hand and beat him with it.
Note, these soldiers were not ordered to mock Jesus, but they did it anyway because they represent the cruelty in this world.
- Jesus was verbally abused while hanging on the cross.
Can you imagine yourself in excruciating pain and agony…and people around you spewing hateful words and taunts at you?
In Psalm 22, King David wrote a prophecy about Jesus suffering on the cross. The prophetic words describe how accusers would ridicule and taunt Jesus, who would then beg God the Father to come and help him, saying:
“Be not far from me, for trouble is near, there is none to help.
Many bulls have surrounded me.
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
They gape at me with their mouths,
Like a raging and roaring lion.”
Anyone who has been verbally abused can relate to what Jesus suffered here. The familiar phrase, “Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you”—is entirely inaccurate. Words are powerful, and words can damage a person for life.
When Jesus was at the lowest and worst moment of His earthly life, hanging on the cross in intense pain, people passed by and ridiculed Him, shaking their fingers at Him, not considering for one moment that He just might be innocent. (Matthew 27:39-44)
- Jesus was threatened with intimidation and false accusations.
Ever had someone try to intimidate you? It is meant to belittle you, to render you powerless to help yourself. Intimidation is meant to break you. Has someone falsely accused you? That is a horrible situation to be in, especially if you cannot defend yourself.
In Matthew 26, the Jewish leaders held a council meeting with Jesus, and they “sought false testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but found none.”
Weren’t these fellows supposed to be God’s people? And yet, here they are purposely trying to find someone who was clever enough to falsely accuse Jesus so that they could kill him.
The high priest ordered Jesus to confess that he was the Christ, the Son of God, but when Jesus obeyed, the self-righteous councilmen blindfolded Jesus, spat on him and struck him. (Mark 14)
- Jesus was set up for failure.
Has anyone ever purposely tried to set you up for failure by asking you questions meant to trip you up and make you look like a liar?
Matthew 22:15 says, “Then the Pharisees plotted how they might entangle him in His talk.”
Representatives of the Pharisees and Sadducees religious groups constantly stalked Jesus wherever he went, looking for an opportunity to use his words against him to make him look like a liar.
Fortunately, Jesus was always a step ahead of them and had the wisdom of God to put them in their place with perfect grace.
- Jesus was nearly pushed off a cliff by a gang.
We have lots of different types of gangs in this world today whose mission in life is to harm other innocent people. It was no different in Jesus’s day.
One Sabbath day, Jesus taught in the synagogue from the Old Testament scriptures, proclaiming that God had sent him to fulfill the prophecy to heal the blind and brokenhearted, to free the prisoners and those oppressed, and to teach the gospel to the poor.
But, the Jewish leaders–who controlled the Jewish population—did not agree with his agenda. Their solution was to gang up on Jesus, and “they led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down over the cliff.” (Luke 4:29)
Jesus escaped this situation simply by “passing through the midst of them, and he went on his way.” (vs. 30)
I am not sure if this means that Jesus miraculously “passed through them,” or if it simply means he didn’t let them get the best of him, and just ignored them, walking away from them.
By no means am I a qualified person to offer counseling on bullying, but I do know that it can bring comfort knowing that the King of kings also suffered the same painful and heartbreaking experiences that I suffer in this life.
The purpose of this article is to reassure victims of bullying that you are not alone, and that your Lord and Savior knows exactly how you feel. Please offer up your pain, depression, fears, and worries to Him in prayer, “casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)
Ask Jesus for help in dealing with your bullies with the same strength, wisdom, and grace that he used with his accusers.
And lastly, seek help from those who have the authority and ability to intervene for you. Talk to someone you can trust: family, friends, co-workers, teachers, counselors, ministers, etc.
I am available online for anyone who needs prayers or for someone to talk to. Just send me a message, and I will gladly respond.
**Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash