A new study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) revealed that “cool” kids in middle school had a tendency to participate in bullying more than others. Bullying defined as “either starting fights or pushing other kids around or spreading nasty rumors about other kids”, the UCLA psychology study found that bullying could help improve an individual’s social status and popularity among middle school students. In addition, students who were already considered popular utilized these forms of bullying. The study’s lead author Jaana Juvonen, a professor of psychology at UCLA, discovered that, “The ones who bully more are seen as cool.”

In the project, the researchers observed 1,895 ethnically diverse students from 11 Los Angeles middle schools. The students were dispersed across 99 different classes, with investigators conducting surveys at the start of the seventh grade, the fall of eighth grade, and the spring of eighth grade. During each of the three surveys, the students filled out questionnaires asking them to name the students who were thought to be the “coolest”.  Students who were considered “coolest” at some time during the study were also found to be the most aggressive, and individuals who were named the most aggressive had a higher likelihood of being considered the coolest. So it seems that the simple message of “Bullying is not tolerated” is not likely to be very effective.

Are some students naturally aggressive ?

I do not believe that children are naturally aggressive or ‘born to bully’. Human beings are not ruled by instincts like animals. Aggressive impulses come mainly from responses learned during upbringing. Parents that express anger through physical aggression will likely produce children who tend to express anger the same way. Children from homes where there is domestic violence tend to over or under-estimate violence, which often affects their relationships with others and later with their own children. Unfortunately, adults often unknowingly set a bad example to their children.

What can the Church do?

The United States is one of the most religious nations in the developed world yet it has the highest murder rate. When the greatest amount of violence is found in a country that was founded on biblical principles, it is no wonder that the unbelieving world is asking, “What kind of influence is Christianity having?”

I know that violence will continue to be a problem until Jesus returns and sets all things right. And although we can’t eliminate violence in this age, God has called us to influence the world as “salt” and “light”. (Matthew 5:13-16) But if we lose our saltiness; our Christianity isn’t good for anything. And if we hide our light; the world will remain in darkness. The time is now for the Church to repent from our wickedness and pray for God to send revival!

The great modern revivalist Leonard Ravenhill in his book, ‘Today’s Sleeping Giant’ wrote:

Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. “There,” he growled, “is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.” That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense.

Today Lucifer is probably surveying the Church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, “Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.” Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today?

I pray that she will wake before it’s too late.

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