About the Author

Jennifer Dukes Lee is the author of several books, including Growing Slow. She and her husband live on the family farm, raising crops, pigs, and two humans. She’s a fan of dark chocolate, emojis, eighties music, bright lipstick, and Netflix binges. She wants to live life in such a way...

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  1. Oh Jennifer I am so sorry you had to deal with that…. but so thankful for the beauty that came out of it (This post)!

    Thank you for sharing these important lessons and reminders with us!

    I wrote a post about choosing kindness right around 3 years ago, and many of my thoughts are echoed here:) Great reminders!!

    I love this => “I wanted the cycle of meanness to end with me.” – AMEN. Whatever the reason for a person’s unkindness – I pray we are always motivated to let that horrible cycle end with us. Amen.

    Have a beautiful day Jennifer, and anyone else who may be reading!:)
    ~ Bomi

    • That means so much, Bomi! And I love hearing that God has been speaking a similar message to you, and then compelling you to use your writing gifts to spread that kindness. You are such a blessing.

    • Thank you so much for that wonderful God inspired message. My grandmother always said it cost nothing to be kind and to say hello.

  2. This is a confirmation of what God has been speaking into my heart for this new year. I deal with a very difficult co worker on a daily basis, and, she needs Jesus.
    Thank you for standing strong, and for sending the words that will help me as well!!

    • Hi Renae, At church yesterday, a guest speaker reminded us that the people who annoy us the most might just be the exact people God calls us to minister to. UGH! So true, right? But it’s hard to persevere, when it’s on a daily basis, as you are experiencing. Hoping the Jesus IN YOU spills over to soften the rough edges of your co-worker.

      • My daughters use harsh words to me, I’ve gotten mad, and that seems to bring them joy☹️ But i need to remind myself they might be in pain , they are adults, i have no control over them 24/26yrs. They are very unkind to me in a lot of ways. I raised them to love god, but they threw that teaching out the window, they say to me we do life our way.

  3. It would have been so easy to “lash out” at this person, but you chose the right path. And, you can “live with yourself” and sleep at night, knowing that you chose kindness over anger. You chose the path of Jesus.

  4. Beautifully written, Jennifer. I , too, am sorry for the poison darts someone threw your way. Thank you for showing grace and reminding all of us to do so. The only consolation at such times, is we never know what someone else is facing and what life circumstances might cause them to be so mean spirited. Your story literally made me gasp. Hurting people hurt people. And people need loving the most when they are the most unlovable Two of my favorite quotes. You are a reflection of Jesus, and as always, your words reflect His grace. Blessings on your day, my Friend!

  5. Unfortunately this kind of meanness has been around for many years. But it seems to have gotten worse in recent years with a free pass given by conduct from the one who holds the highest office in our land. We need to teach children at a young age so that as they grow into adults that they know this behavior is not acceptable. It is not Christ like. Remind them of “What would Jesus do?” so that the the mean behavior does not become a cycle and hurt others. I learned that hurting people also hurt people. We can’t know what is going on in someone’s life that starts this meanness or bullying but we can stop it from becoming part of our own behavior. It stops with each of us remembering Christ’s love.

  6. Just what I needed to read this morning as I return to work after 3 years off with a sick child to work with a mean co-worker who will be the one to re-orientate me. Thank you for these words. Thanking God for His timing.

  7. Being kind in these types of situations is sooo difficult. At work, I’m the “newest,” having been here not quite a year. Communication tends to be terrible here, and despite my attempts to anticipate and do my best each day, nothing is good enough for my boss. Sometimes she’s nice about it, but when she has a bad day, she definitely channels that anger and annoyance towards me, even if I haven’t “done” anything wrong. Sometimes there are misunderstandings, but there definitely isn’t equality among myself and my other two co-workers. Being kind in the face of that adversity — where you are doing your best to do what is asked of you but the standards keep changing and are perpetually muddy — is one of the most difficult issues I face.

    But you’re correct. Meanness gets us nowhere. Sure, we are NOT called to be walked over, and many of us struggle with that balance. But boy, is it hard to think of kindness in those moments! 🙂

    • Oh boy. That would be QUITE a challenge, Shelly. I feel for you. I had a boss like that in my newsroom days. I never knew which version I would encounter on any given day. It was so frustrating!

  8. Jennifer, thank you. For leading the way with kindness and for providing a real life example of what loving God more looks like in the face of nastiness. And thank you for delineating when it’s right to walk away, also. “However, if bullies aren’t receptive toward good will, there will come a time when you must turn away and walk toward those who will receive the kindness within you.” This was very helpful. May we be given the courage to be kind today.

    • I’m so glad this encouraged you, Pearl. It can be hard to walk away at times. I know, for my part, I’m tempted to want to get in “the last word.” Not a good trait!

  9. i have had a so called friend for many years and have seen the bad ways in hurting others and thinking it is ok. i do believe this person is miserable and it is a way to get attention—-i have learned to expect and ignore it as it her problem not mine–but i do pray for her and would be there if truly needed. God helps us to go on.

  10. Thank you for this post! I have been guilty of spreading grumpiness and unkindness more times then I care to admit. He is still working on me.
    I’m sorry for your hurt! I love everything I have ever read from you!

  11. Thank you for this post! I have been guilty of spreading grumpiness and unkindness more times then I care to admit. He is still working on me!

    Ps. I’m sorry for the hurtful email you received. I have loved everything I’ve ever read from you!

  12. Jennifer, this hits such a strong chord with me! Thank you for taking the time to explore and write about your feelings. Yesterday before church, a negative remark escaped my mouth. There was no excuse for it! During the service, I prayed God would give me the opportunity to right that encounter. He did. I apologized to both people who had heard my remark. I asked God for forgiveness also. And I moved on. Somehow I had let a momentary loss of hope bleeed into my speech. It was a betrayal of the people I hoped for. I will do better.

    • Irene, I so appreciate your “confession” of sorts here. I think so many of us can relate. But not everyone would do what you did: pray for and then ACT UPON an opportunity to ask for forgiveness.

  13. Thank you so much for this wonderful article! What a great way to help us all start the New Year out right!

  14. Stephanie,

    It is so easy in today’s society to simply out our feelings out there no matter what. We do it mostly via email, Facebook, or other social media. It has gotten way worse in the last few years. So much disunity & hatred i our country now. The media isn’t helping with this either. We would do well to go back to the Apostle Paul’s words. Even Solomon had wise words to say about this. Proverbs 16:22-24 states
    Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools.
    The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction.
    Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Solomon knew that being judicious with words would bring healing to yourself. Like we all know hurt people hurt people. Some people are just upset & unhappy all the time. It could be they are going through a rough time in life. We would be wise to try our best & be kind to them & see how they react.

    Blessings 🙂

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this, Jennifer! I once experienced some terrible comments that even crossed the line into urging me to harm myself. I was shocked that people could be so heartless and cruel over a harmless and well-intentioned article.

    Your wisdom to handle mean people with kindness is precious. Thank you.

    Jennifer

  16. well done on waiting to email her back ! one harsh word usually begets another harsh word until a all out word war is on. excellent you slowed it down and didn’t get pulled into a word war..
    I have learned to pull back..wait..pray and then speak. there’s great wisdom in letting stuff go.
    you are right tho our society is full of this attitude.
    recently my son had a friend sleep over. the mom never said when the boy was to be asleep by so it’s 1045pm and the boys are still laughing. she text me and said her son needed to be promptly asleep by 11pm !! so I did my best to settle the boys down but they didn’t get to sleep in the short time span of 15 minutes.
    the next day after the boy was home the mom sent me a nasty text blasting me. I was stunned. the boys had fun and are best friends..but she told me right off.
    6 months later she text me again telling me her son will never come over again..
    so I understand the narsistic attitude and bullying attitude that people carry into adult life.. she has caused great hurt between the boys but doesn’t care.

    • Oh my goodness, Krissy! As I was reading, I kept thinking, “That poor child.” I am afraid her controlling tendencies might create a cycle of fear, anxiety, and deep insecurity in that boy. I am so sorry it turned out like it did. I’m sure that was hard for your son as well.

  17. WHO IS SHE?? WE WANT NAMES!!

    Just kidding. lol =)
    Your gracefulness is admirable and is exactly why you have the platform you have now. God will honor that. Thank you for sharing–hugs to you.

  18. Thank you Jennifer for this word so well wrote. I in many a time as Christian have wanted to say nasty things back to people who have hurt me with there words for no reason. Some times they are Christians themselves. My late Mum used to say. I did pray for her Salvation and I don’t know if she gave her life to Lord before she passed away. But I couldn’t ever tell her she needed to get saved. Or a row go up. She say I was preaching too her. For me to keep my religion too myself. So I just lived my lived as a Christian in front of her and prayed for her Salvation. But her and another man I knew that has passed away used to say why would I get saved when we can see Christian living and doing and saying things they should not do. Then going to Church on Sunday with the Bible under their arm. I said Mum I don’t know. But she my Mum used to say Dawn but your not like that. But that Man and my late Mum used to say why if Christian like that would I want to get saved. I used to say. Mum you and that Man I knew you know what you both are so right. If you see Christian living their lives like that it would not make you want to get saved. I have had Christian hurt me in the past. I have had to do what the Bible say and that is forgive them. As if I didn’t it would only eat me up. I could have had words with them and it would have lead to a row. They would have still said I was wrong. I know I was not wrong they should not nor have ever said what they said to me. It hurt me so badly that I went into tears when got home. If I had said to them that they made cry. They the type of person saved and all would still not have cared and have had answer for me. So I told another good Christian friend. She said just pray for them forgive them leave it with Jesus I did that. I am still friends with the people. The other person was a leader. She should have known better. I was only trying to project her. As I am a very caring person. I could have walked out of the room went home as I was so hurt. When she said what she did. But I didn’t. I went home handed her over to Jesus prayed for her. Forgave her. But boy did her words hurt. As old Christian friend alot older than me would say if alive and now in Glory. You did the right thing Dawn and God is proud of you. You might not get your reward this side of earth for theses things but you will get them in Glory one day. Bidden or not Bidden God sees what they done to you. You remember you did the right thing. My friend who was alot older than me would say that is in Glory. I am proud of myself for not retaliating. Letting Satan have the last laugh. By me saying something to both these two people that hurt me with their words. That I done the Christian thing. God wants us to do what is right in his eyes. Not let people with there words bring us down. Thank yoy for todays Excellent reading. Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx

    • Oh sweet, Dawn. I love your heart. I’m so glad you shared with me today. I love that you were able to model authentic Christianity to your mom, not just on Sunday but every day. You’ll know someday in heaven what a difference you’ve made by letting your light shine all seven days of the week. Keep shining, dearest Dawn.

  19. JDL, you are a woman of wisdom, grace, dignity, and strength! I’m so sorry you were on the receiving end of such meanness. But I’m also thankful that out of your wound you chose to reflect and respond as Christ and then share these words with us. Yes, kindness IS contagious and we all could surely benefit from catching a lot more of it. xx

  20. This is a beautiful post. You WIN! But more importantly, kindness wins and you’ve honored Christ!

  21. This is definitely a devotion I will save and come back to again, thank you for sharing this beautiful reflection of your heart, it made me want to stop and cheer out loud! It also got me thinking – instead of reflecting back on the meanness I’ve experienced with anxiety/negative memories, I can look back on the situation as a victory, a triumph – that God in His greatness gave me the strength to be kind. And He will always be there with me to help me again and again. Now that is encouragement I need. Thank you!

  22. THIS WAS SO TIMELY… I AM DEALING WITH A CO-WORKER EXACTLY LIKE THIS.. SHE USED TO LIKE ME WHEN I FIRST STARTED, AND SHE NOW BULLIES ME JUST LIKE SHE DID ANOTHER CO WORKER UNTIL THEY FINALLY QUIT.. I AM PRETTY TENACIOUS (PLUS I NEED THE JOB) .. I HAVE LEARNED THAT HURTING PEOPLE HURT OTHERS.. I JUST CONTINUE TO LOVE HER IN THE LORD SO THAT SHE CANNOT SEE ANY RETALIATION, AND I PRAY PRAY FOR HER.. GOD SEES OUR HEARTS AND I LOVED YOUR VERSE YOU PUT ON THIS SIGHT.. SO TIMELY.. THANK YOU FOR THIS..
    LORI G

  23. I’m so sorry you had to deal with this, Jennifer, but I’m grateful that it prompted you to write this much-needed post. I have a feeling that your message is especially timely. . .we’re all going to need the reminder to choose kindness during what may be a very fractious year.

  24. Thank you Jennifer – such a good reminder. I have been in this place of ‘having’ to extend grace – how can I not, after everything Jesus has done for me? But it is the hardest thing. I have found that I have to maintain this attitude, keeping kindness on repeat when I REALLY REALLY want to get revenge, expose the wrongdoer, be openly vindicated. It brings me closer to God and I recognise – and try to be thankful for – that this hurt and rejection is therefore a useful tool in transforming my character.
    Doesn’t make it any easier, though!?

  25. You are so right. If we are to love like Christ then we will “turn the other cheek.” Definitely not easy in our flesh, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can. Thank you for sharing this.

  26. “Mean is easy…kindness is hard.” I read those words and thought, “Jennifer is right. I do NOT want to take the easy route–anybody can do that. I want to choose the challenge and be the kindness-contagion!” Just today I encountered a thoughtless person (probably just distracted) and whispered a prayer for her. It felt GOOD! Meanness just takes us to a dark, negative place. No joy there! The feel-good endorphins released by kindness offer yet another reason to rise to the challenge!

  27. Our attitude is contagious! And we do have a choice. Something that helps me is remembering the mean spewing of the other person is really more about them than me. It is saying more about them than me. When I remember this, it is easier to be empathetic to them and not take their meanness so personally. Love that we can stop meanness with kindness. Keep being kind, Jennifer, and letting your light shine into their darkness. The world needs more people like you.

  28. Thank you for courage and grace. This is a suject near to my heart. To feel hurt is to know sadness. A prayer i so hold on to
    LORD please let me have the eyes to see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad and a clean soft spirit that never loses faith in Your word and your desires for my life. THANK YOU JESUS
    Gods blessings on you and yours