When being too NICE gets in the way of purpose!
During the summer of 2014, I decided to cut sugar from my family’s diet. Somewhere I read about the benefits of cutting our sugar intake and it out-weighed my judgment of transitioning into a sugar-free diet and we (I) decided to cut sugar cold turkey! I woke up one day and dumped all the sugar from the jars and poured out all the juices. I didn’t stock up on any fruits and cereal was limited. I thought I removed all the sweets, but I forgot about the delicious bottle of unfiltered orange blossom local honey that I got from a farmer’s market left in the cabinet.
It was around day 4 of our diet when I was cleaning up the girl’s room that I discovered the bottle of honey hidden on their play table behind a couple of stuffed animals. Instead of punishing the girls, I decided to grab a spoon and take a break. The girls walked in on me eating the honey and they ran up for a taste! We laughed, kicked our feet up, and enjoyed the rest of the 16 oz bottle! And just like that, our sugar-free summer was over.
If you are used to being the nice girl, it will be tough to cut the sugar cold turkey, but it doesn’t mean you can’t cut back. Being nice can sometimes get in the way of us walking in our purpose. God had not called us to be nice. John 15:12 does not ask us to lay our lives and dreams and become welcome mats for everyone to step on. There are hundreds of verses that speak of love, but none of them speak of sacrificing our health, value, time for the sake of being nice. Don’t confuse love and kindness with being “nice”. I will always be kind, but I cannot always be nice.
Jesus was not always nice. In fact, the Jesus I read about in the bible for myself now is a lot tougher than the Jesus I learned about in Sunday School when I was a child. The Jesus I know now got in trouble for sneaking away and leaving his parents and staying behind in the Temple – in another city – to hang out with the teachers there. I don’t know any parent that wouldn’t “pop his 12-year-old behind” for pulling a stunt like that! No ma’am, a nice kid would not have done what Jesus did! (Luke 2:41-52)
Jesus also lost his temper.
When he saw that the Temple was being exploited and used as a market, he MADE a whip and destroyed everything by turning up the tables and driving out the merchants. His anger was justified and indeed necessary. Can you imagine the Son of God just walking through the Temple and letting the traders continue with their sacrilegious behavior? I can’t.
We like to paint a picture of Jesus that is always nice and meek, but he wasn’t. He was firm and assertive when necessary. In fact, I cannot think of an example of Jesus being nice without a double dose of boldness and a bit of audacity. Always kind, yes, but not always “nice”.
Nice can be fake and short-lived. Being too nice can have a negative effect and cause us to overload ourselves with things that do not pertain to our purpose. We become preoccupied with things that we are not passionate about simply because we are too nice to say NO to someone’s request.
Here is a list of things that a “nice” person might do. Here’s how you can tell if you are too nice, and it may be interfering with your purpose:
- You always wear a smile (even behind your mask and someone just bumped your cart going the wrong way down the aisle at Wal-Mart)
- You believe that the godly way to respond is always with a soft, timid, and gentle voice
- You ask everyone for their opinions before you make an important decision – even when you are certain of what you should be doing anyway
- You never ask for help, but you wish people would figure out what you need help with and offer to help (just like you do for them)
- You feel slightly offended when someone suggests that Jesus was not “nice”
- You would take the easy way out just to avoid offending others or taking a huge risk
- If something happens that you don’t like, you will wear your smile anyway, and go home to complain to your family – or to your mirror
- You never have time to do the things you are passionate about because it gets in the way of someone else’s plans for you
If you are given a choice to be nice or kind, always choose kindness! Kindness gives without expecting anything in return. Kindness flows from the heart whereas niceness can be deceitful. Kindness allows you to be yourself. Being nice will get in the way of you being true to yourself.
So, cut back on the sugar, Sugar!
Little POW-wow, Pearls of Wisdom
- Sometimes we like to act nice instead of being strong and confident in who God created us to be. When was the last time you compromised being confident and bold for being “nice”?
- Do you have a partial image of Jesus that centers around his sweet side and disregards his forceful side? Journal down a few examples where Jesus was kind but not so nice.
- Ask God for wisdom to know and understand the difference between kindness/goodness and niceness.
- Write out a few ways you can “cut back on the sugar” and stop being so nice. How can you follow his example of love and kindness without compromising who you are or what you stand for?
Tune My Heart…
I believe one reason why Christian men and women are so “nice” is because we want to be accepted by others. Acceptance is something we battle with even as little children.
Average, by V. Rose, is a song that I discovered back in 2011 when my oldest daughter struggled with being “too nice” with a couple of classmates that she wanted to be friends with. While I was trying to guide her through her first experience with mean girls, I ended up taking the song up as a favorite and inspiration for my personal struggle of being too nice and needing to be accepted. Enjoy!