Posted by: Leigh Reynolds | March 1, 2012

Mean People

Some people are just mean… And it has been bothering me lately. I am far from an angel and I am confident I annoy plenty of people far more than I care to admit, but I don’t think I’m mean. I don’t understand mean people. Where is all that hate coming from? Why all the venom and ugliness? Doesn’t the world have enough with things like cancer and PKD and drunk drivers and homelessness and hunger? Why do we have to add meanness to the mix?

Maybe people are mean because of all of those things. Maybe they are mean because life has been mean to them and they can’t find their way out of it. Maybe they need someone to show them a little nice, to chip away at the mean.

I was watching a news clip about Jeremy Lin. I don’t really follow sports, I hadn’t heard about “Lin-sanity” I just saw a post about it and clicked on the video. He seemed like a very well spoken, kind, humble guy. He referenced God and his opinion that God had a hand in his life and his blessings – mentioned that he spent time in his Bible to stay focused. It was a nice interview. He was a good guy. He didn’t say anything inflammatory or boastful or hateful. And he didn’t take out his Bible and thump it or throw it any anyone. Who could have a problem with it?

Apparently a lot of people. I was shocked as I read the comments below and saw the hatred, venom and ugliness being thrown out. It made me sad. Why was his mention of his God, his faith, his method of staying grounded such an offense to so many? It baffled me.

Since then, I’ve thought a lot about it. The ugliness we can fling at each other. Mean people. Not just that string of comments after the Jeremy Lin video, but those found on a friends Facebook post when she shared a Christian video that touched her, the email I received from a volunteer I am just trying to help be successful at her event, the  list goes on and on.

When we run into these people in our lives, the knee-jerk reaction is to return in kind. Fight fire with fire. Defend ourselves. Why should we be a doormat?  But that just grows more mean people; makes mean people stronger in their meanness. It’s like adding a hot dose of MiracleGrow to their hatred. And it doesn’t help us at all. You can’t fight mean with mean, ugly with ugly, hate with hate. No one will win. The only thing that will eventually diffuse it is love.

Sounds trite, I know, but I believe it to be true. That person ranting on, hating God and anyone that expresses their Christianity has likely been judged, made to feel unworthy, and told they are not good enough to come to God’s house. And even if they haven’t, saying you are a person of faith then showing condemnation only drives them further away.

I read my Bible almost every day. Sometimes I wonder if the people professing so loudly to be Christian are reading the same book. If they are, maybe they are missing some pages. The parts that tell us to love, not to judge, to worry about our own faults more than those of someone else, that tell us to forgive, to be giving, to be generous. The part that  instructs us to respect authority, to be humble, to respectfully talk to someone if we have a problem with them (not to talk behind their backs). The pages that tell us to rejoice, to sing songs of praise, to have joy, to trust. Did they miss the part where Jesus hung out with the prostitutes, tax collectors, sinners, and other flawed humans? And I am pretty sure He never told them they suck.

Some days, some people require more grace. Some days, some people require far more grace than I can give. So some days, I let go and give it over to someone far more equipped than me to love. I take a breathe, I say a small prayer, and I ask Him to give me the words I need, so that I can speak – or type – in humility and love. Most days I pray that the people I am around will be able to extend a little of the same to me, because I am sure I need it to.

That is not being a doormat. That is being gracious. And that is what one man did for everyone a couple thousand years ago. Even the mean people.

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Responses

  1. Good to hear from you again, Leigh. We need to have more people like you in our world. I always look forward to your blogs!

    • Thank you Sandy! Just trying to push back against the darkness a little. 🙂


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