Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
These days, it seems like having to deal with a bully or “mean girl” is becoming more and more common. Let’s face it, some people can be just plain rude, but HOW do we respond as Christians in a world that can be hostile and filled with competitiveness, pride and the desire to be popular?
This week, a PI Girl asked other PI Girls what they have been bullied about and what mean-spirited comments or hurtful words they have faced. If you would like to join the Girl Talk Forum, click here.
Here are some pieces of advice on how to respond to either a friend who is insensitive, or someone who is purposely teasing or being mean-spirited. Try these responses in uncomfortable situations where you are unsure what to say because you either don’t want to say something hurtful back or maybe you are too shy to stand up for yourself.
HOW TO RESPOND TO UNFRIENDLY PEERS:
1. Hold Your Tongue and PRAY: It is easy to quickly respond back, either saying something you don’t mean or even excusing poor behavior. In either case, hold your tongue; count to 10 and pray about what you should say to this person. Also, pray for this person because they may be hurt, insecure or just dealing with something internally.
The Bible says,
“I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked are before me.” -Psalm 39:1
“ If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” – James 1:26
2. Respond with Kindness: It may sound weird, but the person who is saying something unkind to you probably is a hurting person and is lashing out at others. It doesn’t make it good or right, but Jesus tells us when someone strikes us to turn the other cheek. This is so foreign to our flesh, but God always tells us to love others and to not return evil with evil. This is not saying to let someone physically hit you, but it is saying that you should not retaliate but rather, show the person love. (1 Cor 13 says, “Love never fails.”)
3. Read the Word: Reading the Bible helps us to quench the fiery darts and the lies of the enemy. The truth of light overpowers the lies of the darkness. The enemy wants us to rehearse his lies so that we doubt God, fear and become insecure. We need to be bold, courageous and warrior-like, putting on the full armor of God so we can “stand against the schemes of the enemy” (Ephesians 6:11).
4. Avoid Gossip: In the Bible, gossip is considered a sin, yet it’s easy for human beings to fall into it. When facing challenging situations within school and work environments, let us not join the negativity but rather, keep quiet (pray) and shine our light for Christ.
”He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.” –Proverbs 11:13
5. Turn Negative to Positive: Maybe if someone says something rude, you can turn the conversation into a positive one, not letting the remark get to you. Responding with joy can turn a potentially hurtful situation into a teachable moment.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” –Proverbs 15:1
Note: If someone is bullying you or threatening you, or if you ever feel in danger in any way, report it to a trusted adult!
PI Girls, what do you do in these types of situations? Let us humble ourselves and pray for one another. School and work can be places of peer pressure and gossip–let us not partake in this but walk in love, amen?! Write your prayer requests below!