By Yay Padua-Olmedo

Illustration by flickr.com user Pimkie licensed under Creative Commons

Illustration by flickr.com user Pimkie licensed under Creative Commons

They abound–on the internet, in schools, your workplace–yes even in places where caring and kindness should be the norm.

Nurse Hannah got an acrid mouthful from a patient who just could not wait for her turn to be treated―in spite of the fact that the emergency ward was crawling with patients needing more urgent and critical care.

“Management will know about this!” she threateningly snorted.

News of bullying in schools has spiked. But the storyline is familiar: The bullied snaps, eventually responding to the bully through the barrel of the gun―but in the process injuring other students and teachers.

A lot of teenagers today are drawn to a very popular social site named ask.fm,  founded by two Latvians Their mission: encourage freedom of expression. Time magazine has called it however the anti-social network, because of the cyber-bullying it encourages, with a teenager’s recent suicide attributed to it.

I tried to warn my first year college students about the site―only to learn that almost all of them visited the site regularly. And yes, they do get bullied!

This site has attracted 120 million millennials worldwide. Hosting one billion posts a year, ask.fm has made its owners very rich. This should raise red flags for any parent of a validation-seeking teenager.

I put up with bullies too. Not in school, but in my place of work, under three bosses. (Most of them though were kind, considerate and inspiring.) Work became doubly stressful; and all I ever wanted was to resign. But I didn’t have much choice because working class types like us don’t have much choice.

The bible mentions a bully who once waged a coup d’etat in heaven but failed.  Jesus says in Luke 10:18―”I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.”

No wonder Paul said, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

Satan is still in the bullying business,  but instead of doing it himself, he uses people like you and me, with our own dysfunctions or cluelessness  to  intimidate others―through anger, hatred, bigotry, selfishness, envy, slander and other unkind and inconsiderate acts.

How can anyone protect himself from bullies?

Hannah determined to not be affected, keeping her silence and preferring to focus on what mattered―treating her patients to the best of her ability and not facing ire with fire.

Ephesians 6:13―Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

Jesus told his disciples before sending them out: Luke 10:19―”Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.

Bullies’ barbed words may sting for a while but they can never bring you down― if you make the Word, Jesus, your shield.