When asked by Oprah if he considered himself a bully based on past interactions, Lance Armstrong said, “Yes.” Many were surprised to hear his admissions of dominance over colleagues, some for simply disagreeing with him.

Bullying during adolescent years, however, doesn’t seem so surprising. Perhaps statistics from i-SAFE Foundation prove why, unfortunately:

  • Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
  • More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber-threats online.
  • Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
  • Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

The results can be devastating. 

But bullying isn’t just for kids. Although adults may react differently, the pain remains — emotionally, physically, and spiritually. (If you’re being bullied at work, home, or in ministry, please tell someone.)

This post, however, is to raise awareness of our own actions.

According to bullystatistics.org we might be considered a bully if we:

  • Are quick to put down others
  • Desire to gain power over another person to make himself or herself more dominant
  • Enjoy showing others “who is boss”
  • Use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate

More subtle ways? 

  • Invading another person’s “personal space” in a strong or dominant way. (Some believe this to be about arm’s length) Hugs, of course, do not count.
  • Using a dominant tone of voice when speaking to others.
  • Facial expressions. A nonverbal but powerful source of communication.

While preparing my first lesson in Nehemiah, I was struck by how Nehemiah’s shrewd leadership skills were divinely rendered in love. 

The result? God used him to not only rebuild a wall, but to restore His people. 

Are our actions/words restoring or destroying others? 

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. (Neh. 2:17, 18)