I’m writing this post now because of the new tone I am trying to set in my own life. It’s easy for me to be nice to people I agree with. It’s pretty easy for me to be nice to people I like. But insert a person who does not fit as one of the aforementioned, and I am tempted to leave my niceness behind.
Some of the most difficult words of Jesus for me to live out are those found in Luke 6:32-36 that say…
32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. 35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
Sadly, being nice is not often an identifying characteristic of those of us who say we follow Jesus. Instead, too often we are drawn in to discussions that look and sound more like arguments and mean-spirited debates rather than the compassionate conversation we should be modeling. We call names and demonize individuals and their positions with which we cannot identify.
There must be a better way. We should hold our convictions as charitably as we do firmly. Engage in discourse. Learn how others – especially those we may not agree with – form their convictions. Is there a better way? There is, in fact… just be nice.