Another blogger wrote about someone cutting him off in traffic and yelling an obscenity while noticing bumper stickers that proclaimed, “Mean People Suck,” “Coexist,” and “Commit Random Acts of Kindness.” Mean Christians is an oxymoron in any vocabulary – just as much as Jumbo Shrimp. Meanness does not come from a heart of goodwill it comes from a darker place – a hidden part of the human basement where we hide things that we actually don’t want to see but get dragged out to embarrass or humiliate or to undermine another. Jesus said, “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” (Matt 15:11). Exactly. It’s hard not to react when mean people ‘push your buttons’. Generally you want to make some pithy biting comment, raise the volume, or turn and degrade them when they leave. It is hard to absorb meanness – it’s hard to avoid too.
If we could only convert meanness into a different kind of energy – humor, kindness, or compassion. Jesus also said, “But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.” (Matt 5:39) Sometimes it is another part of the anatomy that you want to turn toward mean people. But think of it. If we reframed the experience in the moment – if we could see another possibility of what the experience meant we might create a new kind of energy. Here is the tragedy for mean people – they do not know they are like that for the most part. They are completely ignorant of what they are like. They think everyone else is to blame in their life and in most instances it is their life that is tragic. Their meanness comes more out of a selfish personal malformation than it comes out of a desire to hurt you. Give them a cheek or your pity but remember – it’s most likely not about you.