The Tragedy of Realizing People Can Be Mean, Christian or Not

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 09, 2024
The Tragedy of Realizing People Can Be Mean, Christian or Not

How will we shine brightly for Him if we are being darkness ourselves?

If we are honest, most people we come across in life are not very nice people. I first came to this conclusion when I was a young child. Being picked on and bullied, I quickly realized that many people are mean for no reason. While my parents came up with plenty of ideas as to why people were mean, none of them were true or relevant to my situation. Long story short, many people are mean just because they are mean. 

There are mean people in the world because we live in a sinful, fallen world. Everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). By living in the fallen world, we encounter people who are driven by anger, frustration, hurt, and bitterness. Rather than being kind, they make us feel bad about ourselves. Mean people are never fun to be around because they only hurt us. 

If you are someone who is known to be mean, it is time to step away from this identity. Never should a person say a Christian is mean. As Christians, we are Jesus' lights to the world. How will we shine brightly for Him if we are being darkness ourselves? Instead of being mean, choose kindness. This is what God wants all people to do, especially those who claim to follow Him. 

The Lasting Pain of Being Hurt

When someone is mean to us, it hurts. Depending on who the person is, it might hurt more so than a stranger. Many people I used to know were very mean to me, even though I considered them friends. I think I considered them friends because I really wanted to have friends. Now, in retrospect, as I am older, I know they were not my real friends. 

Friends would never be mean to you. Never would they say hurtful comments, belittle you, or make fun of you. Friends are supposed to build you up, not tear you down. If you have been the victim of bullying, know that you are not alone. It can really hurt to know that your friends are not actually your friends and that you are better off without them. Fake friends don't deserve your time or presence, though. 

If you are hurt by someone who is just a stranger, know that your pain is valid too. Just the other day I was at a doctor's appointment and a woman in the waiting room scowled at me as if I was the devil himself. This made me feel awful about myself, and I went out of my way to distance myself from this woman. Maybe you have encountered someone just like this. You did nothing to warrant the hateful glares, yet the person still shot them at you. 

This was not nice of them, but as you already know, there are a lot of mean people in the world. The popular trend today that promotes the idea that all people are relatively good is not biblical. All people are evil from the moment they are conceived (Psalm 51:5). We are born into sin and only through the grace of Jesus can we be saved. 

From the time we are children of God, we become more aware of the evil around us. We see people who are mean for no reason, yet it is still hard not to take it personally. Similarly, many Christians are the ones who are mean, even to their own brothers and sisters in Christ. This should not be; however, if you have even encountered this, know you are not alone. Some of the meanest people I've known are people who identify as Christians. 

Whether they are true Christians or not, I do not know. What I do know is that as an individual Christian, I would never do anything purposely to be mean to someone else. I know how it feels when someone is mean to you, and I never want to inflict that same pain on anybody else. Are we always going to be perfect and treat everyone with flawless love? No. However, as believers, we shouldn't want to be mean to anyone. Our motivations and intentions should be rooted in Christ's love. We should want to extend Jesus in our actions. If we fail to do this, we are doing a disservice to the Lord. 

Living in a Fallen World 

As mentioned earlier, we are living in a fallen world, and this is why we encounter mean people. Sadly, within pop culture and schooling, mean people are deemed as “cool.” Think of who the popular people were at your schools. It's often those who tear others down and build a fear-based popularity. This is a sad reality; however, it is not something we should ignore. Popularity should never be "earned" through anger, fear, and manipulation.

Everyone becomes so afraid of them that they just keep allowing them to run the school, the event, or even the workplace. Unfortunately, despite being adults, we see the same trends in adulthood. The bullies and the mean kids never grew up. Instead of allowing this behavior to continue, we must speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. We must speak up for ourselves too. Mean people only have power over us if we let them. 

We do not have to give them the satisfaction of hurting us. Instead, we can address their mean behavior and call them out for it. As adults, we need to behave better, period. Nobody should be mean to someone just because they look different, talk differently, or do things differently than someone else. There needs to be kindness, compassion, and grace extended to all people. This is the only way that we can actually shine the light of Jesus in our lives. 

While it is true that we are living in a fallen world, it does not mean we have to live as the world does. In fact, as believers, we should be living in opposition to the sinful world. The world says meanness is how you get what you want, but the Bible says the right thing to do is to be kind, caring, and loving (Matthew 22:39; Ephesians 4:32). Are we going to follow the practices of the world or are we going to follow our Savior? This vital question can help us move forward in curtailing the hate that continues in the world. 

Choosing to Forgive

If you are someone who has been hurt by a mean person, it's important to forgive them. It's true that they probably don't deserve your forgiveness, and they probably never apologized, but God still wants you to forgive them (Matthew 6:14). After all, we don't deserve God's forgiveness, but we are called to extend this same grace to others. This can be hard, yet it is something we must do. Holding onto unforgiveness, hate, and anger will only hurt us. If we truly want to move forward, we must forgive the people who hurt us. 

Forgiving the person means you are giving the situation over to Jesus. It doesn't mean that what they did is okay, nor does it mean that what they did is forgotten. Rather, it means you are turning the situation over to God. He can handle it best, and He can carry any of the emotions you are experiencing. He hates that there are mean people in the world, but He promises us a future where there will only be genuinely kind people, His followers rejoicing in heaven (Revelation 21). 

This future promise will be fulfilled in the New Heaven and New Earth. Never will anyone be mean to one another ever again. There will only be happiness, love, and joy. When people are mean to you in this life, look forward to the day that all evil will be destroyed. It will happen in the future, and it is a sure promise. Reflect on this truth when mean people get you down.  

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Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.