Father of compassion,
You have given guidance in the Bible to Your children on how we should behave. Will You please help me be kind to people around me? Help me be kind even to those who are mean to me and pick on me. I want to live a life always marked with kindness and compassion, not just when it is easy. Please examine my heart and show me areas marred with pride and hatefulness.I also pray for courage to administer Your kindness no matter how awkward or inconvenient the situation may be. Amen.
There are mean people in the world. I love Jesus and I want to love his people and my neighbors well, but that doesn’t change the facts: some people are really just not nice.
Sometimes these people are strangers whose meanness only reaches you through computer screens and Facebook messages, but sometimes they’re also family members, close friends, coworkers, or people you bump into at the grocery store. We can’t always avoid mean people, as much as we might like to.
They comment on our blog posts with harsh feedback, they make comments under their breath across the living room, they use fighting words on social media sites, and they call us names from the other side of the dinner table out of anger.
When people are mean to me, I’m often tempted to be mean back. When I’m called an ugly name, my brain instantly lists a dozen others I could retort with. When hurtful words hit me, I want to respond with words that will hurt back. It’s the classic “They started it!” feeling that I use to justify my anger and indignation… but I know that’s an immature response to meanness that does not reflect the Lord’s heart well.
So, how do we deal with hurtful attacks when they come? What do we do when mean people lash out and hurt us?