A mean-spirited person is one whose natural impulse is to cause harm or trouble for others. We are all mean-spirited at times, but this article will focus upon those whose personalities are characterized most of the time by hateful, rude, and spiteful behavior. Mean-spiritedness is part of our fallen sinful nature (Romans 3:10, 23; 8:5). We are born selfish with a desire to gratify ourselves at any expense.
The Bible has a lot to say about being mean-spirited and the fact that it dominates the lives of many who reject God. Jesus offers a makeover for us when we give our lives to Him. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” One of those “old things” that are passed away is our mean-spirited nature.
Christlike living is in direct opposition to a mean spirit.
• Our mean spirit wants to get revenge; Jesus says to forgive (Matthew 6:14–15).
• Our mean spirit wants to exalt itself; Jesus says to seek humility (Matthew 23:12).
• Our mean spirit wants to be first; Jesus says we are blessed if we choose to be last (Mark 9:35).
• Our mean spirit wants to fight; Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
• Our mean spirit wants to gossip; the Bible says to guard our mouths (Proverbs 13:3).
• Our mean spirit is rude; Jesus says our speech should be gracious (Colossians 4:6).
A mean-spirited person is living opposite of what the Bible teaches. Often, the reason a person remains mean-spirited is because he does not know how to live otherwise. It may feel natural to be rude and hostile if one was raised in a rude and hostile environment. But to meet Jesus is to enter a new world, one in which it is impossible to live without His Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20). When we allow the Holy Spirit into our lives, He can transform even the most mean-spirited person into a Spirit-filled disciple.
How do you demonstrate a mean-spirited attitude in your relationships with others at home, school, work and social environments? How have you been hurt by mean-spirited people you have come in contact with throughout your life. How has dealing with mean-spirited people changed your life?