We can tend to forget, that yes, there are mean people in this world – we can love Jesus, and yes, we can want to love His people and our neighbors, however that simply doesn’t change the facts – some people are really just not nice.
And yes, these people can be strangers whose meanness only reaches us through computer screens and facebook messages, but sometimes they’re also family members, close friends, coworkers, or people you bump into at random places.
As much as we might like to, we can’t always avoid mean people – they comment on our blog posts with harsh feedback, they make comments under their breath across the room, they use fighting words on social media sites, and yes, they may even call us names from the other side of the dinner table out of anger.
When people are mean, we’re often tempted to be mean back. When someone calls us an ugly name – we can instantly lists a dozen others we could respond with.
So yes, when hurtful words hit us – we want to respond with hurtful words back. We want to justify our anger and indignation, but we know – that’s not a mature response to meanness, and no, it doesn’t reflect the Lord’s heart.