Dealing with Mean-Spirited People: Hurt People Who Hurt People

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, ~ Matthew 6:14

In the book Hurt People Hurt People, lingering childhood hurts and generational patterns of being hurt is what causes people to hurt others. In other words, people who are hurting… hurt other people. Through their mean-spirited behavior… they show how they feel on the inside. Romans 1:28–30, list several mean-spirited behaviors that include malice, gossip, slander, rudeness, heartlessness, and cruelty. It’s inevitable… most of us will meet people driven by such behavior at some point. So, how do we deal with mean-spirited people? Keeping in mind that we’ve all stumbled (James 3:2).

Jesus Christ says love unselfishly and endlessly (Matthew 5:44; John 13:34; 1 John 4:7). Are we expected to force a smile, while cringing inside because of the way a mean-spirited person treated us? Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can rely on biblical principles found in Matthew 6:14–15, Matthew 23:12, Mark 9:35, Matthew 5:9, Proverbs 13:3, Luke 23:34, Acts 7:59–60 and Colossians 4:6.  We should keep in mind the following:

  • Respectfully express that the mean-spirited behavior is hurtful.
  • Pray for the mean-spirited person to see the error of his or her ways.
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit’s intervention on your behalf.
  • Treat the mean-spirited person with love and consult the Scriptures for practical advice.
  • Keep in mind that the other person is hurting inside and show empathy.
  • Stop and think before speaking or responding.
  • Refuse to conspire against the mean-spirited person with others.
  • Refuse to retaliate by acting mean-spirited.
  • Pray for discernment and wisdom on how to address the mean-spiritedness.
  • Remember God loves you and the mean-spirited person.
  • Examine yourself and your attitude towards the mean-spirited person.
  • Remember you are accountable to God for how you treat the mean-spirited person.
  • Know that you are not accountable to God for how the mean-spirited person treats you.
  • Give the mean-spirited person respect and act with humility and genuineness.
  • Forgive the mean-spirited person.
  • Sometimes you may need to walk away… less you become the mean-spirited person.

The Bible instructs us to deal prudently with mean-spirited people (Proverbs 15:1, Ephesians 4:31-32; Matthew 5). Consider Matthew 18, as we acknowledge that mean-spirited people are hurting people who hurt people. Know that God can heal and deliver those who are hurting. We don’t have to hurt others and we don’t have to continuously be hurt by mean-spirited people.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

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