The Verbal Bully

James 3:6-12

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?  My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

“Verbal bullying can include calling another person names, insulting them, or saying mean things. Making fun of a person’s race, appearance, skills, or anything else is also a form of verbal bullying.”

The website Parents Advocating for Safe Schools shared the story of Joe: “We moved here when I was in 4th grade. It started the first day of school. I was called ‘retard’, ‘fagot’, and other nasty names as well as getting shoved around for the next 7 years.”

That is only a small description of what he went through. Joe’s story demonstrates that sometimes verbal bullying can lead to physical bullying.

Be thinking of ways that you can encourage students to lift one another up instead of tearing each other down through name-calling and even sarcasm. Having a series on godly communication might also be helpful. Use narratives and experiences from your own life on how people have been effected by words positively and negatively.

Resources used:

Mattern, Joanne. “Bullying.” Heinemann Library. Chicago. 2009

Parents Advocating for Safe Schools.



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