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Whew… Middle school and high school are over!  Time to move away from the simple-minded drama that comes with being a teenager and move ahead with the more important issues of life.

Wait a minute… Who’s that?  Is that… A MEAN GIRL?  A MEAN GUY?  Didn’t they set aside their childish ways when they moved on to adulthood?  Didn’t they figure out that childhood antics and vapid drama doesn’t work in adulthood?

Didn’t we think that we could get away from their whispering in corners and selective snubbing once we headed to college and adult life?  Unfortunately, we will each run across people in various parts of life that forgot to leave behind their messy middle school mentality for a more enlightened way of living.  They will use their “mean girl” attitudes to manipulate others.

Even Jesus met his share of “mean guys” before the end of his earthly ministry… None of us are immune to their ways…

In many situations, mean girls and guys can be disregarded as children.  Yet there are times they get in our ways when we are trying to move forward trying to follow the call of God and they stand in our way.  They attempt to derail us from our paths, not because they are trying to accomplish something…

Frankly, I’m not sure why they are mean people.  Maybe they thrive on drama.

But God isn’t calling us to be mean girls and boys and handing back hate to those who drench us in hate.  Instead God is calling us to “set aside our childish ways” and turn their swords into our plowshares.  We are called to assertively work with them as we know that God has given us the wisdom to love our enemies.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. states “returning hate for hate multiplies hate.”  Given the choice between hate and love, I will once again go with Dr. King: “I have chosen to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

A prayer for those facing “mean girls:”

God of our holy tweens and teenage years
of our growing pains and terrifying transitions,
give us the courage to walk in the valley of the shadow of mean girls.
Prepare a table before us even when our enemies refuse to let us sit with them.
May their voices become heard when they whisper stabbing secrets
and may their voices become silent when they scream criticisms.

Give us the strength to extend grace when they extend their hands for help.
And help us to forgive seven, seventy, seven-thousand times
Whether we are seventeen or thirty-seven.

Amen.

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