When a 6’ boy bullied my 5’ 7” blond daughter in high school, I told her to kill the bully with kindness. That didn’t work. Then I told her to ignore him. That didn’t work. Finally she beat the bully up! He never lost his fear of her. When he saw her picture on her dad’s desk at his work several years after they had finished high school, he jumped back like he had been socked in the gut. He was very respectful. Sometimes we have to stand up to a bully.
My family are all pacifists. My mother insisted that she was a door mat all of her life. My older brother endured teasing. One time, when we lived in Burbank, CA, the neighbor kids chained him to our weeping willow tree in our backyard. He was fine with it. He had at least gotten some attention. Meanwhile I tried to distract the kids from picking on my brother by teaching them to climb up a tree next to our white-sided garage to stand on the asphalt roof.
Several years later, when we were living in Alaska, my brother was chased and harassed every day after school by a neighbor girl. My parents either weren’t aware of the constant bullying or they didn’t know what to do about it. When my next to the youngest brother was born, and my mom was in the hospital, my aunt was caring for us. She was appalled that my brother was gasping for air and almost having an asthmatic attack when he came home from school. She asked him why he had been running so hard. He told her about the neighbor girl. She instructed him that he should wash the girl’s face in snow if she did it again. He did as she instructed. The girl never bullied him again but my parents were called to the school principal’s office for a lecture about boys picking on girls. My mom was angry with my aunt for teaching my bother such a thing.
My sister, youngest brother, and I managed to remain below the radar while growing up. I don’t remember any of the three of us being picked on. But my next to the youngest brother had a classmate punching him in the arm every day and causing bruises. By this time I was teaching first grade and had come to the realization that our family was unusual. We were compliant in school, and didn’t pick on people, but I had learned that the majority of kids are strong willed. Almost all children will try to get away with whatever they can. Reading and writing and arithmetic taught to the tune of the hickory stick should be the theme in school. Tough love is the way to help children to learn.
Because of my recent experience with six year olds I figured that the boy slugging my bother just wanted to get his attention. I advised my mother to tell him to slug the boy back. I never heard anything more about the situation. (Maybe my mom didn’t like my advice!)
So should one stand up to a bully with appeasement or with force? I think it depends on the circumstances. When the United States fought the Nazi’s, Japan, and Italy, during World War II, we came together and focused on the goal of completely annihilating the enemy. We used every weapon available to us. Now the United States is being bullied by Russia, by terrorists, by China, by North Korea, and our ally Israel is being bullied by Hamas. Either our elected officials do not know how to stand up to a bully, or they choose not to stand up to them, or there is some other reason.
God can turn the heart of the king in any direction He pleases. We must cry out to God for help for our leaders. But most of all we must beseech God for the salvation of our leaders around the world.