When I Want to Be Mean

I looked at the text message in complete disbelief. Why couldn’t this person see how insensitive and hurtful she was being?

I don’t know who made up the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Either they had nerves of steel, or they lived on a deserted island with no other people. Because not only do words hurt me but they make me want to fight back and be mean, too.

Have you ever had a little situation with someone where you just knew you were right and they were wrong? Or at least you could make a really good case for your side of things?

Oh how I have this burning need to state my case in these kinds of situations. It’s like an inner attorney rises up desperate to defend my rights and get the other person to see things my way. This is pretty normal, right?

Yes. But normal doesn’t always mean good. Especially in light of Colossians 2:6-7, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

I should live rooted in Jesus’ teaching and overflow with thankfulness. The opposite of this is when I’m rooted in self-centered opinions and overflowing with grumbling. I need to let God show me how to see things from this other person’s side and gain a different perspective. In doing so, I will be strengthened and taught.

Colossians 3:12-14 reminds me, “… as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (NIV).

My job isn’t to fix this person or make them see my side of things. My job is to obey God by offering an extension of the forgiveness I’ve been given. But I can also stay healthy in this situation by remembering forgiveness doesn’t mean giving this person access in my life that sets me up for destructive patterns.

Finally, Colossians 3:17 reminds me, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (NIV).

Everything I do and say tells a story of whom I serve. If I act out of anger and spite, I give in to the ways of the enemy, spreading his darkness. If I honor the Lord with my actions, I serve to further the Name of Jesus and spread His light.

At the end of the day, honoring God leads to good things. Anything else leads to confusion, emotional exhaustion and a lack of good things.

I processed the text message mentioned above with my husband. He said something that brought much clarity. “Lysa, you know when you’ve taken the high road, God blesses you. You’ve seen these blessings over and over as you’ve made choices that honor God. So choose a blessing today and save yourself the emotional turmoil of trying to prove you’re right.”

He’s a smart man.

I know this isn’t easy stuff. I’m having to live it in the midst of feeling hurt. But I’m also feeling more at peace being able to see another perspective — a healthier perspective — a Biblical perspective. And I’m really excited about the blessings that are surely coming my way.

Dear Lord, You know the hurtful words and actions that have come my way. Please give me Your strength to not retaliate, but instead to react based on Your Truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

unglued_cover Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control with my book Unglued. You can get your copy here.

Today I’m giving away 5 copies of Unglued! Leave a comment below telling me one way you’ll choose to take the high road this week.


  1. Jenna Onofrio says

    Oh, how this blessed my heart! Taking the high road is so difficult even when we realize that this is TRULY what our GOD desires! I find it so easy to get on my knees at the altar and receive God’s amazing Grace, but when it comes to being personally attacked it’s so hard to extend that same grace. This week I found myself discouraged by memories and mistreatment from the past that resulted from someone very close to me. When I was placed in a situation in which this person confronted me with things from the past… I was hurt and angry. I wanted to make the person feel the same way. Instead, I chose to remember the amazing morning just days prior when I was on me knees at the altar, covered in grace… the same grace that I showed that day.

  2. Heidi Kelly says

    I’ve been trying to take the high road for the last year by not calling my daughter-in-law, (recently ex-), and telling her exactly what I think of her and the way that she practically destroyed my son over the last year-and-a-half. I’m getting there, but it’s still hard. We live in a small town and I occasionally see her out-and-about with her ‘boyfriend’ – i.e. – ‘adulterous partner-in-crime’. She still hangs her head and can’t look me in the eye, so that really tells me all I need to know, but it’s hard when your child has been hurt by someone’s selfish, uncaring acts. I thank God that I know that He will send my son a loving, caring, Christian woman to love and to help repair the hurt & pain that his ex- has caused him.

  3. Anika says

    I can’t tell you how much I NEEDED to hear this today. Such an answer to prayer. I need to read your book apparently! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  4. Kelly T. says

    Great post! More importantly a great reminder to me during this stressful period of life. So, in response to your question, I am making a very deliberate choice to not act out negatively towards my husband and kids. With God, I am choosing to show love in times that it is not easy for me. (Eeek! This is hard to admit/post.)

  5. Tea says

    This is my first day here on your blog. I too have problems coming unglued. After it reaching the highest level it had ever been a few weeks ago, I tried taking my life. I have since started talking to a counselor, keeping a journal and reading my Bible. I do feel better, but I know I have a long way to go and I’m taking one day at a time. Please keep me and others like me in your prayers.

    • Rhonda Stills says

      I just finished your book “unplugged “!!! I loved it! Your a very amazing Godly woman that I see how God is using your gifts! Life experiences and REAL! If your reading this and you haven’t read this book….. Get it, share it, and enjoy! Thanks

  6. Jessica says

    By simply keeping my mouth shut. Sometimes saying nothing at all is the best thing to do.

  7. Karla says

    This book is great. It applies to every facet of life. I read it before and i think it’s time to read it again. I’d love another copy to gift to a friend. Its one of the top ten books I’ve read in my lifetime. Thanks Lysa.

  8. Elizabeth says

    My husband and I are having some problems. We had a 5 day trip planned for this week which we’ll go ahead and take since it’s all paid for. I’ll be taking the high road in how I interact with him on the trip. No matter what the future holds for us, I can choose to always be kind.

  9. Mary says

    This post spoke to my heart as I’m currently facing a similar issue. I took time to write down the Scripture from Colossians about forgiveness, and the post reminds me of a part of Unglued where you say that forgiveness is mandatory but reconciliation is optional. Knowing that forgiveness is not only Godly, but healing for my soul, comforted me and allowed me to forgive others while safeguarding my heart from the pain by denying those whom I’ve forgiven access to hurt me in the future. This thought alone is powerful in moments when I’m faced with taking the high road or stooping low.

  10. says

    Today I will focus on things that really matter. I will breathe life into those that need Christ, hope, restoration and love.
    We are called to love unconditionally, so I will look beyond someone’s faults knowing I, too, have faults and would want the same in return.

  11. DaLania says

    This came at a perfect time. We have faced alot this year and yet are so crazy blessed with wonderful things that only God can give us and still I find myself almost envious of silly things and that makes me crazy. As soon I I think something tacky or pself pity party like I immediately feel guilty. It is like a vicious cycle. Thank goodness for God’s word and great Christian sites like this where I can read and reflect. 🙂

  12. says

    I just love the way all your posts seem to tie in together. This post reminds me of 5 things to ask yourself before posting on social media, as well as 5 encouraging things to say to a friend today. This really made me think about myself when I’m talking with someone. Often I find myself with a desire to start an argument and be mean…but now I am reminded of your words and advice which leads me to choose the high road and speak kindness.

  13. Sheri Roach says

    I won’t come unglued when the manager at work becomes condasending, and goes on a power trip. Instead I will strive to react to her in love, hard as it might be.

  14. Ashley says

    I’m new to the site and have found such encouragement in your words at a time of great need. My husband and I are going through a rough time in our marriage. We can’t seem to communicate lately. This week I hope to really hear what he says and ask questions instead of reacting with harsh, defensive words. Thank you for the reminder to love and forgive others as Jesus loves and forgives me.

  15. Karen says

    Dearest Lysa

    Last year my daughter was in a bad way. My grandchildren were being neglected. Their father was working to get custody until she got better. During third time I signed papers stating she was unable to care for them.. I was terribly worried they would accidently lose their life…
    I was promised I would never be removed from their live and now it’s been 10mon since they’ve been allowed for visits. My oldest grandchild is suffering with this tremendously. She doesn’t understand why she can’t come visit and is growing weary. She has terrible nightmare that I’ve been killed and her mother has as well. I prayed often before signing these papers and I felt that God had spoke to me one night. So I thought I did the right thing. Well now my faith is starting to fade. I live my God..I know he’s there, but I can’t find him through the pain, can you please pray for my babies, myself and my faith in my Father! I feel so broken and worthless without my faith. I find it hard to pray and to believe in my prayers being answered. I NEED HELP DESPERATELY! Can you please pray for my soul and for my babies, I need all the help anyone can offer!!

  16. Twinda Whitehead says

    I’m excited that I visited this site, I received the invitation from the radio this evening. I’m committing to take the high road as I’m communicating with the new staff at my disabled dtr’s new group home. My Dtr and I have been awaiting a new company which will manage the new Grp home. Her current (previous) placement became unsafe as one of Her peers past away in Jan. 2015 from neglect. So my Dtr has been home with me, it’s not like I can afford it Im a single mother of an adult disabled child since birth whom is deteriorating neurologically. In debt up to my eyeballs from keeping her home but it’s only money What is that if your child is not safe. Ok, Im going to take the high road? I’m educated in the health field so I have certain standards when it comes to my dtr’s care . What mother would not. But communicating my wants and needs what’s best for my Dtr seems to be as if I’m speaking a foreign language to direct care staff, that make minimum wage and there seems to be extreme lack of work ethic. So how to communicate with care givers. I’ve been accused of being condescending and intimidating which is definitely not my intent.. I’ve really been praying about this exact topic for days now weeks how I’m going to communicate exactly what my non-verbal dtr’s needs are with the staff not feeling intimidated or disrespected with my basic facts and passionate for my dtr’s benefit. Which I truly don’t see it but I’ve been told that staff is intimidated by me. I have to add as I text this I don’t feel that I’m even talking about myself. Because I see myself as a loving big hearted kind fun loving person. It’s a fact that the system has a long ways to go to meet my standards ! So I’m really perplexed about all this impending explaining that is necessary and requested of me. So the high road. I’m not going to force the issue when I’m right even tho I am and my way works best I’m going to step aside (as long as it’s not life threatening) and by Gods Grace and Mercy give them a fair chance to see how they implement the information I provide! I realize there is 100 or more ways to cross a room. So I’m hoping to be excited to allow this new company to prove themselves and come along beside them and be a team player. It just seems, me being who I am as a Christian with values morality integrity and work ethic that people are put off by what I stand for. So I’m challenging myself to completely let the Lord lead in this situation. Because I think it’s important that we stand for our values But at the same time honor others .. So the high road for me Is completely relying on the Lord as I speak my prayer is that no matter what comes out of my human carnal nature mouth that the Lord by His spirit will allow it to fall on their ears softly with the intent that I have to advocate for my dependent precious child And lead people to CHRIST. It’s a wonderful opportunity for ministry . So to God be the Glory as I submit myself to the higher road the Good Lord guiding leading and holding my hand Because only in Him will I succeed His will His way ..
    A bit wordy I don’t have the time to go back over this comment
    I apologize for the length
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment

  17. says

    I have a tendency to want to manipulate people or situations when they don’t go my way by making a point to pout or make it known with my body language that I am hurt, but I am choosing to watch my attitude and just make an effort to let God defend me.

    • Kristine says

      The fact that you can admit this, about a “tendency to manipulate people”, is proof that you are not so prideful to admit your faults and because of this fact, God can do something about it. Most people could never admit what you have- And God can’t fix it until we admit we have a problem. God has much in store for you, Carol. Bless your heart. I’ll be praying for you. 🙂

  18. chris says


    What a great reminder. In our human-ness, we want to lash out and be right! But, does that really get us anywhere? In a month, it won’t matter usually, but with the Lord, every motive and action matters. When are we going to just get it and respond appropriately.

  19. Arryn says

    Such a great word! This week I choose to take the high road against my husband’s ex wife’s comments that are constantly made about our marriage and new son. My verse I declare is: If God is for us who dare can be against us. I speak this with every interaction, and each time I want to give her a piece of my mind in retaliation.

  20. Stacey W. Moore says

    I am just learning and will make a lot of mistakes. I am going to begin by praying and getting closer to God and learning what his will is and reading the bible more. This is what I’m going to do to start changing my perspective and I know it probably won’t happen overnight, but we do have a God of miracles.
    Thank-you for taking the time to read this. I had fun.

  21. says

    I, too, struggle with the emotional energy expended on trying to share my point of view or persuade others of my view or experience. Part of what God was speaking to me about today was that forgiveness can be extended but that doesn’t mean that healthy boundaries are not mine to establish and hold. This week I will say yes to my grown daughter, while being mindful of my desire to support her, while I forgive her as she spreads her wings of independence, while sometimes over-stepping in our relationship.

  22. Candace Bevers says

    Hi there. This question is off topic but I would like to know what translation you are using for your “6 go to scriptures for craving”. Please forgive me; I wasn’t able to comment on that posting directly. I found these immensely helpful and am working towards memorizing the verse and reading the whole chapter around each one to get a better sense of the context. I am working on 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 and had some difficulty with the “stand up under it.” part. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your uplifting and inspiring work.

  23. Michelle says

    I am choosing to pray for my friend and ask God to help me fully forgive her and give me love and understanding for her.

  24. Laura says

    I’m on vacation at the beach this week with my husband, four young sons, niece and mom and the first night I was in a grumpy mood already. After some time alone with God and grumbling about not having any fun on this trip due to the constant and incessant demands of being a mom, I realized that God didn’t say this vacation was all about me. He didn’t say that MY wishes were His commands this week. I will take the high road this week by putting my selfish vacation ideals aside and making sure that my family is having the time of their lives

  25. says

    I just pulled my daughter out of our very small private school in our very small town where everybody knows everybody else’s business. She was being bullied for the past two school years in first and second grade by a small group of mean girls. Surprise, surprise, the mean girls have mean mommies too. I tried everything I could to help her: worked with the school admin, the teachers, called parents. Nothing worked. We finally just said, we give up. This isn’t worth it anymore and it was breaking our hearts to see her be hurt everyday. We started up at the local public school with just 4 weeks left in the school year. She was a completely different child in a week – so happy again and liked going to school again. She made new friends immediately. I couldn’t believe it took me so long not to do what I knew in my gut and my heart was best for her. I tried to stick it out because I didn’t want to quit. I didn’t want her to quit and I didn’t want the bullies to “win” It has been so hard to bite my tongue and not lash out at those girls and their mommies. To nod politely when they ask why we switched schools like they have no idea why we would want to leave. It has taken every ounce of self control not to go into “mama bear” mode and protect my child, to not say mean things to those girls, to not yell at their mothers. This week, on the last week of school, I had to stop by our old school to pick up some paperwork and the queen bee of the mean mommies was trying to play nice with me and ask about my daughter’s “new” school but in a really passive-aggressive way since clearly our new public school is not good enough for her. It took everything, and I mean every single bit of self control for me to not snap and say things I would regret later. I’m taking the high road. I’m teaching my daughter that she is stronger from this experience and not a victim. I’m also learning how to listen to my gut and not stick something out that isn’t working for my family just because it’s what everyone else is doing. To let it go. To teach my daughter by example to LET. IT. Go. It’s so hard.

  26. Carol Puckett says

    I have walked the low road all my life. Shame, despair, failure, overweight, playing church, speaking Christian, and a bad marriage. I think the true high road (GOD) is the only road to walk. I need discipline, the “want to”, and God’s grace to give me courage, success, and grace to walk where I know I need to go. Praise God for Proverbs 31.

  27. Katherine says

    I will, by God’s grace, purpose to remain quiet, and tell the Lord in my mind, “I trust you Lord”.
    OOOHHHHH this is HARD for me!!! I get fearful and try to make the other person change (this person is very close to me) by debating my case! I know I can stay quiet though, and trust the Lord to take care of things.

  28. Kathy says

    My husband and I are having issues with just giving snippy answers to each other over the least little things to the point that I don’t even want to speak, so guess that would be taking the high road? I’m at my wits end as to how to resolve the issues we are having. If this will help, I pray I am one of the winners….in our 60’s and running out of answers…just more questions!!

  29. cs1028 says

    Taking the high road has got to be one of the toughest things to do spiritually. I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I can get along with anyone, even the worst of the worst as I imagine. Throughout my life and very recently, I’ve come across what I call “the one”. The one person amongst many for whatever reason I’m drawn to initially and find out that there is a spiritual war of sorts going on between us even though you wouldn’t know it to see it. I repeatedly try to take the high road when comments are thrown around or body language from “the one” would say otherwise and end up feeling frustrated, angry, and disgusted with myself and that person. I constantly say over and over in my head “what did I ever do to that person?” I imagine the worst case scenarios of why that person does not like me because I’m human. That’s when I have to take a step back and give it up to God. I’ve realized over the course of my life that God places people as such in our lives for a reason. We may not know the reason at the time. I often think it is to show us a side of our own personality we need to work on. Who knows! All I know is when people like this come into our lives and they do at some point, we need to look to God and pray. Pray that God has his hand on the situation and for strength to keep on the high road!! Hopefully down the road God’s purpose for bringing that person into our life is revealed somehow.

  30. Kristine says

    I chose to take the high road in a situation a couple of weeks ago, long before I read this post. It was hard, but the peace of God was with me. It was a situation that I was not in the least bit at fault, and with time and articulation, could have easily proved my side. However, God gave me the wisdom to realize that the time and emotional stress (turmoil, as Art ministered to you) that it would cost me was not worth it. Since taking the high road, I have seen the opposition squirm in their seat, panicking, and trying desperately to make excuses for their behavior, only to make themselves seem even more silly.

    I never desired for them to be embarrassed or ashamed. I only wanted them to realize the deep hurt that they caused me and to feel remorse for their actions. However, I have learned that when we back off and trust God to defend us rather than attempt to take things into our own hands, He has a way of working things out and bringing complete vindication to us.

    And even if vindication doesn’t come in the way we wanted or expected, He will reward us with His peace- which is absolutely priceless.

  31. Rose says

    I can keep my mouth shut, but not take thoughts captive and fret and fume about how I can’t trust my husband because he has disrespected me in the past and recently. I choose to forgive him and not come inglued in my mind with resentment and self pity. Rather bless him and remember I have in turn disrespected him. Oh, for grace my heart to soften.

  32. Alicia says

    My flesh wants so bad to be mean. To say the things that come into mind that would prove my point or state my case. Its even gratifying to my flesh when I let those words come… but afterword my soul feels crushed. The weight of the words we speak not only bring those around us into bad places, but it brings our heart from a place of peace and love that God desires to a place of confusion, turmoil and heartache. The high road is the road of peace. 1 Peter 2:20 “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” Everytime (which I pray will become ALL the time) I choose to take it patiently, God gives me that peace that surpasses all understanding. Try it and trust. I’m on my way and if I can do it through the power of Christ, anyone can.

    • Alicia says

      You make a great point Rose. Sometimes its easier to keep quiet, but feels impossible to bring every thought captive to the mind of Christ. I have that issue too. I found that when I simply trust in Him to allow me to do so, it makes it so much easier. All we need is faith that the good shepherd will lead us into maturity, and the persistence and openness to let Him do so. Submission is the key… but so hard for me! Thanks for your comment. I’m not a computer person and have never posted anything before and its funny because you posted part of my heart as I was posting another comment. God bless.