By Dannah Gresh
In a nationwide survey of over 1,500 Christian tween girls, 29% admitted that they had either been the bully or stood by and let it happen without doing anything to stop it. That burdened me, and I wanted to pass the information on to you.
After studying the plentiful club of mean girls of the Bible, I set out for a day of observation before I began to write this. Surely I could dig up a good mean girl story to be my opening hook!
I certainly found it.
It happened when my hair was in foils at the salon. My sweet colorist had gone to find a refill of mineral make-up for me. She returned with bad news. “We don’t have the refills, but we have a new compact. Would you like that?” she asked apologetically. “I’ll have to get it somewhere else,” I said. Matter-of-factly. I was annoyed and it showed. The quest for the story of a mean girl came to mind. Could I be the story? Certainly not! Juxtaposition my slightly bad attitude with the sweet one I witnessed just one hour later. I was at the grocery store checking out when a white-haired lady with eccentric style began to put her groceries on the conveyor belt. Her sweater was something to talk about. Funky and full of life.
“I’m sorry, ma’am,” said the cashier to the older woman. “I’m closing.”
“Oh, sweetheart,” said that dear woman as she snatched up her red cabbage and placed it back in her cart. “I bet you’re just about to have a nice lunch. Or get off for the day. Oh, I hope it’s that! Enjoy!” And off she went in her funky sweater with her even spunkier spirit. She changed the entire atmosphere with her kindness and love for the cashier who chased her away. I want to be like that. And I’m not.
But try as I might, I couldn’t put my finger on the difference between us until I got home that evening. I dug out my Key Word Study Bible to read over the mean girl of all mean girl stories: Sarah and Hagar. What on earth was Sarah thinking when she offered old Abe her maid as a surrogate mom? You know this story wasn’t going to end well.
The Bible says Hagar “began to despise her mistress.” The Hebrew word for despise literally means “to see” but it suggests that what you are looking at has grown smaller. Smaller than what? I think Hagar now thought of herself as LARGER than Sarah.
(Sarah returns the view a few short verses later.)
These two women started a cataclysmic grudge that rages to this day. Sarah is the mother of Jews. Hagar is the mother of Muslims. What might our world look like today if Hagar and Sarah had embraced God’s vision of each other instead of their inner mean girl? God says our vision should make others look “significant.”
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 (ESV)
Moms, the way we treat others impacts our children. If they see a mean girl in you, they’ll copy the behavior. If they find the spunk of spirit that results in loving others, they’ll copy that.
Interestingly, I released a video about mean girls on my website and was blown away at the number of moms who wrote to me lamenting how much meaner the mean girls in church are compared to the ones their daughter’s encounter in school. They were fired up. An army of mama bears ready to fix the problem. (Read: pick a fight!) To be honest, I started writing this article to fuel the fire in those moms, but in the process, God humbled me by showing me where our daughter’s mean girl moments begin: with us. And our vision.
Anytime we allow the mean girl in us to come out it’s because we see ourselves as more important than someone else. And that kind of vision is just the opposite of God’s instruction for us to look at others as more important. I don’t know about you, but I’m in need of some corrective glasses, and my motivation to wear them is going to be my girls. Though they are now grown, I would like to be an example for them of what a godly woman looks like!
Looking for more on the topic of friendship? Register for our upcoming workshop hosted by myself and my friends Janet Mylin and Kelly Needham!
Our True Girl theme verse:
"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31,32
Mom, the best way to teach your daughter to live like an authentic True Girl is to live like an authentic True Woman. And to do that, you've got to get your life lined up with the Truth of the Bible. Listen to Dannah Gresh every weekday on Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth's Revive Our Hearts podcast. The program features biblical teaching, interviews that offer godly advice, and other opportunities to abide in God's Word.