Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mean Girls in the Church?

Bullying. It's all over the news. Suicides. Accidental deaths. Petitions. Required teacher training. Just yesterday, I read in the news that Facebook has even developed an application to allow users to reach out for help if they experience cyberbullying.

The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center reports 1 in 3 students are involved with bullying. Gender is not an issue. Girls are just as involved with bullying as boys are...yet their bullying strategies are very different.

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

I was reminded of this verse as I read 1 Timothy 3 this morning. Listing requirements for deacons and overseers, while men are warned against violence and their tempers, women are warned against being malicious gossips. Titus 2 reflects similar instruction.

Sadly, "mean girls" aren't confined to high school, or even to secular places. I've heard some of the most caddy comments at events that were supposed to be honoring Christ. A few of the worst rumors I've ever heard have been shared as prayer requests.

I'll admit it - I'm far from perfect in this year. But God gave me one truth this morning that I feel I should share: Women who walk with Christ are our allies - not our enemies. It's that simple. It doesn't matter if she's a cheerleader and you're in the drama club...if you're married and she's not...or if you can't see past your flaws and she seems perfect. We are all on the same team.

Of course, we're different. 1 Corinthians 12 compares the body of Christ to our physical bodies. We are composed of many different parts, but we need each of them to function properly. One part of our body is no less important than another. Just the same, we need Christians with different abilities, personalities and purposes.

I love this challenge from Elisabeth Elliot: "The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman." As much as we may be different, the bottom line is that we are the same kind of different.

God, I don't want to say anything negative about a woman who is striving to life for you. Lord, allow me to see how you have crafted her to do Your will, and help me to appreciate her as You do. Father, even if she has wronged me, remind me of all the times I have failed others and failed You. Thank you for Your forgiveness and Your grace. Help me to be more like You.