Are You a Mean Girl?
Here's something you might not know about me—I am a mean girl. Actually, I used to be a mean girl and to be honest, I still have to fight against mean girl tendencies in my life.
Let me introduce you to my high school self. I accepted Jesus as my Savior at the age of 15. Throughout my high school years I was super involved in youth group. I served in ministry in my church, wore Christian T-shirts, and led Bible studies on campus. I really wanted to live out my faith, but didn't connect the dots between loving Jesus and the need to be kind to those around me. Specifically, I was often rude, judgmental, and hurtful to my friends.
We often hear about what to do if you're the target of a mean girl. But have you ever considered if you are the mean girl? Is it possible that the way you talk to and about your friends is hurting them in ways you might not realize?
As I think back on my mean girl days, there are lots of indicators that I was a mean girl. I didn't look like a bully. I didn't go around pushing and shoving and I usually wasn't trying to be hurtful, but I didn't connect the dots between what I said and how others felt.
I've listed several questions below that I would like to ask my younger self. They expose a pattern of behavior that can clearly do damage to others. Will you take a moment to ask yourself these same questions?
- Do you have a habit of calling people names even when you're "just joking"?
- Do you often feel the need to point out sin in your friends' lives?
- Do you frequently find yourself fighting with your friends?
- Do you change friends often or remain in a close-knit group?
- Do you often roll your eyes or ignore other girls?
- Do you frequently use sarcasm in your humor?
- How often do you apologize?
- Do you prank call your friends or post anonymous messages on their Facebook?
- Are you frequently annoyed by your friends?
- Do you initiate or pass on gossip?
How'd ya do? Do your answers indicate that you've got some work to do?
God has high standards for the way we should treat others. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
According to this passage we are only to use our speech to build others up. It's never okay to speak in a way that tears others down. This is a lesson I wish I'd learned as a much younger woman. It's a lesson I hope you're willing to learn today. How do you need to adjust your speech to avoid being a mean girl?