We face many temptations each day. Matthew 26:41 (NIV) says "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." One of the biggest is the desire for power over others. We see this desire for power play out when people bully others. Bullying is a critical issue for teens today, some of whom are taking their own lives in response to being harassed and bullied in school and online.
What can we do about this abuse of power when we witness bullying? First of all, we can report it. If we see it happening, we can speak up and seek justice for the bullied person. We can start a club at school or a small group at church to explore the problem and to provide support for bullied individuals. We can also pray for those being bullied and those doing the bullying.
It's about making choices with God's assistance. We may rarely face life-changing decisions, but every day we have opportunities to choose between little things that develop our character. If we have practice turning to God with our smaller decisions, it will be easier to turn to God when it comes to making bigger decisions - college, drinking, drugs, sex.
Ask your teen...
What are some practical ways you will fight the urge that you or your peers feel to bully others?
When have you been tempted to sacrifice your character?
Challenge your teen...
Decide with your friends or youth group how you will hold each other accountable for living your beliefs and following God's dreams for you. As you do, notice the ways you become positive role models for others.
Prayer for strength...
I have given into temptation and sinned against you, God. I have brought you shame and disappointment. I ask for your forgiveness, knowing I don't deserve it. Thank you for washing and cleansing me. Strengthen my weak body to stand against the temptations of this world.