My 14 year old knows these girls. You probably know them, too. You know those girls, the ones who send other girls into the bathroom to cry? She chooses not to spend time with them, but they're a little hard to avoid. She really can't escape them and it's become quite disturbing for her. They're that 'it' crowd and she's watched them suck her friends in and spit them out and then watched as those same girls are sucked back in again. Frankly, she's disgusted and it's been a challenge as her mother to stand by and watch. My trite and feeble attempts to console and encourage her fall short.
"Keep your chin up"
"Don't stoop to their level"
"What would Jesus do?"
just haven't helped. This morning I was reminded of scripture. On her way out the door, I told her to remind me to talk to her about heaping coals. She was in a hurry and often thinks I'm weird anyway so she just said, "ok" as she headed off to school. For those unfamiliar, heaping coals comes from chapter 12 in Romans and reads:
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. 20"BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
If you know me really well, you know I come from a family of very strong personalities. I was raised by a strong, in-your-face and fairly pugnacious man. I am a chip of the old block. I own a sharp tongue, sport a [very unhealthy] competitive nature, and frankly, if provoked, I am a girl who could eat you for breakfast. I'm a girl who sees injustice, cries foul and instinctively reaches for my vigilante badge. I am not a girl who naturally comes upon relinquishing vengeance and I am most certainly not someone who feels inclined to offer my enemy a drink.
The thing is, I have to squash the breakfast binging girl inside of me every single day. Not because she's ineffective, rather because I was supposed to have washed her away in a baptismal fountain in 1998. I have learned there is no space inside of me for both the Holy Spirit and an antagonistic spirit. There just isn't. Every day I have to choose which I'll allow to occupy me.
Today while telling my daughter about heaping coals upon her enemy's head, I told her about my battle and that she will have to make the same choice here because let's face it, we all have a little something ugly inside of us we have to fight. I want to encourage her to allow the gentler, kinder, Holy Spirit to prevail. It doesn't mean it will feel good while doing it and it doesn't mean we will win in every situation. But it will mean she did as God desires her to, and after all, that's the only victory we need to claim. Let someone else eat the mean girls for breakfast.