I find it not to be coincidental that in most circles of women I encounter, from young girls, to teenagers, to college students, to young adults, to middle age and up, there is a recurring issue that weaves its way into the conversation more often than not. The issue of mean girls — or maybe for you, mean women. It is not limited to corporate offices and junior high school campuses, but is rampant in our culture — among our communities, our neighborhoods, college campuses, and even in our churches.

A little over 5 years ago, I re-posted a very insightful Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion on mean girls — soon after that, Proverbs 31 posted another devotional thought on the same subject.  I was impressed, based on the timeliness of this issue, that it might be helpful to delve a bit further into this sensitive subject matter.   It occurred to me that there are mean girls/people who are not necessarily so outward in their mean behavior.  I call them the “slippery sweet” kind.  They appear to be nice, even sweet, but in truth, are just as mean as those who are more visible in their “meanness”.  Maybe you have one of these mean people in your life — more covert and deceptive in their “mean” ways. These can be more challenging to deal with than those who are outwardly mean, because they can be very subtle and calculated. “As mean girls get older, they seem to get more sophisticated at “meanipulation” – they make it all a little less obvious”. (“Mean Girls All Grown Up”, Hayley DiMarco.) Appearing outwardly nice and pleasant, even sometimes “religious” to most people but secretly coming against you behind your back. My mother always called these people “2-faced.” These mean girls are harder to handle, because they run when they fear they will be exposed. They resist facing truth, and are more secure under the cover of deception and pretense. “Oftentimes the easiest and most subtle weapon of mean is exclusion.” (DiMarco) An important guideline to follow once you’re aware of deceptive practices is to be aware of the trust factor for yourself. People who deal in deception and covert methods are not to be trusted, tend to be manipulative, and should not be in places where they are leading and influencing others.

Understanding the mindset behind the behavior can help too. Underneath most negative social behavior lies a deeper, more personal reason. What drives this behavior? A sense of loss of control, a struggle for power, discontent, insecurity, feeling threatened or “out-shined” — in a sense, some form of envy, selfishness, or basic unhappiness or unworthiness in their own lives. For them, filling that continual void is elusive, and grasping that Jesus is the only answer should be our continual prayer for them. Remember, we’re not fighting against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces in the heavenly places. So how do you fight back? What do you do? By praying about and praying for this person. Right, you might say! The Psalms are full of things David prayed while enduring his “mean” and deceptive enemies. You stay on track, run your race, keep your eyes on God, and let Him deal with it, in His time. And deal with it He will! Beth Moore has said, “Submission is getting out of the way of God’s mighty arm so you’re not in its path when He gets ready to swing it!“ Sooner or later, we reap what we sow, both good fruit and bad. The Bible says we are to pursue and to sow peace, as long as it depends on us. And we can do no more than that, except to obey His commands. We will all give an account someday of what we’ve chosen to say and do, and how we’ve chosen to live our lives. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Phillipians 4:8) Choose God, keep your eyes on Jesus, rise above, and sow God-seeds!!

“You are a woman with power. You are a free spirit who has the willpower and ability to choose your destiny. Your goal in life should not be to change evil people nor to stop their attacks, but to follow the King. Only those who have felt the flaming arrows of anger and jealousy and not returned a single one are fully prepared to serve a living King. If you pave your road with hope and love, your spirit will soar, and you will rise above the rest, as a daughter of the King! Your strength of spirit will be obvious to everyone.” (DiMarco. Mean Girls All Grown Up)