This weekend one of my daughters came across a group of mean girls. She was treated so unkindly, in fact, that she was in tears.
Mama bear is still very alive and well, and being seven months pregnant did not keep me from wanting to wring someone’s neck. Perhaps it even added to it a little bit.
But as she shared what happened, I checked myself and kept all my evil thoughts to myself. I let her tell me all about it and I sympathized with her, then told her I would take her home. Which I did. Then, it was time to address what happened from a Biblical point of view, rather than the mama bear point of view.
I started by explaining that some people are just mean. Usually mean people are mean because they want something you have. It could be your smile, your confidence, your beauty or your strength. It could be your love for Christ that makes them mad. It could be that you did something irritating. It could be the color of your skin. All of these are reasons some people will be mean to you- and sometimes you are mean first and you are getting retribution. Since I did not think that the latter was the case here, I further went on to share with her that often people who do not know Christ behave (shockingly) like people who do not know Christ.
Why does it surprise us or even upset us when those who are of the world act like they are of this world? We should expect it, and, according to scripture, consider it pure joy. That is hard to do when you are 14 and just trying to make some new friends. That is also hard to do when you are 40 plus, so I could relate to how difficult this is.
The next thing that we needed to address was what God would have us do about it. Sure, my instinct was to wring some girls’ necks, but the Lord has told us what to do, and even though there is a way that SEEMS RIGHT to man, the end therein is death. Instead, we needed to pray for those girls. I did not do this with her last night because she was exhausted and really did not want to talk about it anymore, but I sure did. I prayed for the girls to have their hearts softened. I prayed for them to know Christ. I prayed that by encountering one of Jesus’ own, they might come to know Him for themselves.
Suddenly the mean girls did not look so mean. Suddenly they looked pitiful. They are growing up in an environment where using language that made my daughter want to scrub her ears makes you look cool. They are growing up thinking that people of another race are their enemy. They are growing up discussing things that wold make most adults blush with shame to discuss in public, and worst of all, they are growing up without Christ. The mean girls are just pitiful girls and instead of wanting to set their hair on fire, I just want to bring them all home with me and sit down with them, make cookies with them, and talk about Christ.
I want to tell them that I used to have some of that mean girl in me, and sometimes she still resurfaces from time to time (like when you mess with one of my babies), but she does not control me or consume me anymore. I want to tell them there is another way- a better way that points to peace, and teaches you to protect the weak, not attack them. I want to tell them that God has a plan for their lives that is bigger and better than anything they have imagined, and all they have to do is accept and obey.
Those girls who looked so powerful and big and mean when my daughter was in tears now look like sad, tiny creatures crouching under the shadow of a rock.
All I can say now is that girls can be mean. And I never want my daughters to be victims of them. But, perhaps it is the only reason I went so fervently in prayer for those girls. Otherwise, I was content to stay blissfully unaware of the state of their souls and I was content (becoming a dirty word for me these days) to just sit back and let the church youth leaders do their thing.
So, for all the mama and papa bears out there….will you join me in praying for these youth? And will you teach your children how to handle mean people? Can you teach them how NOT to be a victim, but how to be a warrior for Christ?
You can start right there, in your own family. When one sibling hurts another, instead of jumping to seek justice, can you teach your children to pray for their offending sibling? When someone hurts you (even members of your extended family) can you devote time in prayer for them? Can you learn to apologize for any unkind things you have said or done to create ill will? Will you do this with your children? If you are encouraged to do any of these things, then the pain felt by my daughter (and subsequently her father and siblings and I) will be worth it.