We were leaving church this morning when my daughter repeated something another girl said to her in Sunday School.
It was stunningly, breathtakingly mean, involving my daughter's appearance. My jaw dropped.
"What did you say to her?" I asked.
"I just smiled and said, yup, and I'm proud of it." She shrugged. "It doesn't really bother me. She didn't say it in a mean tone. She probably didn't even realize what she'd said."
My daughter is thirteen, the age when the knives in girls' mouths begin delivering lethal blows with precision. And I seriously doubted the other girl was as innocent as my daughter wanted to believe.
"Well, next time someone says something so awful to you, repeat it back," was my advice. "And then ask her how that makes her feel."
She shrugged again. "I don't want to stoop to her level."
!!! Is this my daughter? Part of my heart melted. She gets that generous nature from her dad's side of the family for sure.
The other part of my heart hardened. My own mouth is full of sheathed knives ready to be thrown at the smallest provocation. It's an impulse I've worked hard to control...but one that served me well in middle school. Using words like a skewer can be a protective skill. Nobody messed with me more than once.
"When someone is so naively rude, they must be corrected," I said. "It's like having your fly down - nobody wants to walk around with such a faux pas all day. Not only are you sticking up for yourself, you're doing a public service. Hopefully that girl will think twice before unleashing an unkind remark again."
"But, Mom, we're supposed to turn the other cheek," my daughter said. "We were in church, remember?"
I've thought about that all day. And I'm conflicted. Yes, as Christians we are supposed to love our enemies, etc.
But does loving our enemies include NOT correcting horrible behavior from others? What do you think?