“Be Nice”

"Be nice. Jesus said so."Augie and I were out getting mom birthday cards and gifts…and at the Hallmark Store I couldn’t help but purchase what is pictured here.

Now, Michelle liked it so much that instead of it ending up in my office, it’s in her hutch. 🙂

But, how biblically correct is it?

Well, I suppose it all depends on how you define “nice.” Searching for “Jesus ‘be nice'” on Google, the top three hits were:

Two vote down and one votes up, but says it is not enough…

My Mac’s dictionary’s first definition of nice is:

pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory: we had a nice time | that wasn’t very nice of him | Jeremy had been very nice to her.

• (of a person) pleasant in manner; good-natured; kind: he’s a really nice guy.

Did Jesus tell us to be good-natured and kind? Well, maybe not with those specific words…but…

  • Think about who He said to love (neighbors, enemies, and Christian brothers) and (for “good-natured”) things like “And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:47, English Standard Version).
  • Think about how He personally acted — was Jesus good-natured and kind? (Because we assuredly should emulate Him.)
  • Remember that all of Scripture is from Him (in that God is one…and He is part of the Godhead). Don’t be a “red letter Christian” who believe that the words Jesus spoke are somehow more inspired than every other one given by the Holy Spirit.

Ultimately, if you don’t overthink it, I believe the natural (and correct) answer to, “Did Jesus tell us to be nice?” is yes.

But, by the way, nice people don’t allow those they love to drive at 100 MPH for an eternal cliff.

Now, of all things, when I was first thinking about writing this article…what I wanted to discuss was the concept of “do because God says so.”

Don’t get me wrong…if God says so…you should do it!

But I don’t want to be nice only because the Son of God “commanded” it. I want to be nice because the Son of God changed my heart and I am nice.

And that is true of all the commandments. To quote David after he epically messed-up with Bathsheba:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).

I look forward to the day Jesus completes giving me that clean heart. I think that, compared to many, I’m a pretty nice guy…

But compared to Jesus, I am a million miles away. Praise God that He takes me as I am and promises to fix me. 🙂


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Comments

  1. Greg Lohr says:

    Very well said Alan! When I first saw that I asked myself the same question, did Jesus really say that? Maybe not in those exact words, but definitely in theory. To love is to be nice. God is love, therefore….

Your thoughts?