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.


Emily Jones said...

Good word, Michelle! You should really check-out this blog that was just started by two women to examine friendships among women. They're bringing-up some great points, and the conversation in the comments has been good. What you said reminded me of what they're getting at.

Penny said...

Wow! I love that quote!!! Thank you for posting this!!!

I am a Pastor's Wife and let's just say, I appreciate what you've said here!!!

Visiting from iFellowship! Thanks for linking up! I know many, myself included, are encouraged by your blog! Keep up the good work!

have a great Wednesday!

Anonymous said...

Nice and interesting article! But I do have something to add. I strive to not say anything negative about ANY woman (or man)-- whether they share my religious views or not. Malicious and hurtful gossip is wrong no matter what the target's religious beliefs. We are all different, and we are ALL "the same kind of different", in some ways.

Michelle Myers said...

Dear Anonymous, I completely agree with you. I was simply addressing this one particular issue with this blog.

Michelle Myers said...

Penny & Emily - thanks for visiting and for your kind words! I will be checking out the site you recommended, Emily!

Faith said...

I love that quote from Elisabeth Elliot. It is one of my favorites. Sadly bullying is prevalent in churches just like anywhere else. Years ago, we dealt with it with one of our kids. It breaks my heart that it could be that way.

Lisa said...

Emily--could you verify that blog again. I can't pull it up with that address.