“She’s not such a nice person,” I thought after speaking with a woman from a place of business. That isn’t the reason for writing this message, mind you. The reason is this.
The real problem wasn’t ultimately her lack of niceness. We can’t control what others do. It was my poor response to her. And it wasn’t just my poor response to her. It was that I have a long history of responding to not-nice people with not-niceness myself. I would even go a step farther. I have responded over the years to not-nice and not-helpful and unkind and mean and uncaring and hurtful people with a whole bunch of SIN.
Sin in my heart, i.e. my thoughts and feelings, such as pride, hatred, vengeful thoughts, self-pity, judgment, condemnation, and bitterness; sin in my mouth like lashing out, rudeness, meanness, anger, control, slander, gossip, and threatening; and sin in my actions in different ways. Get the point? This message isn’t about other people’s lack of niceness. It’s about how we respond to people when they aren’t so nice. Do we respond in a godly way, or do we become entrenched in sin?
The common denominator in all this has NOT been the un-niceness of others. It has been MY SINFUL RESPONSE to them. Rest assured I have now been working a long time on this as the Lord lovingly and mercifully leads me to repentance when necessary, teaches me His ways, and gives me the strength to respond in a godly way to un-niceness, etc. But truth is I have yet a very long way to go.
Friend, this world can be very un-nice, and that is putting it quite mildly. But God calls us to respond to others with LOVE, MERCY, GRACE, FORGIVENESS, KINDNESS, etc. whether they are nice or un-nice. May you and I be known for our love – and our nice-ness no matter the state of people’s nice-ness – or lack thereof!
Oh, Father, I thank you for bringing me this far. To a point at which oh Lord I WANT to do right. I WANT to be godly. I WANT to love and bless and be kind to people no matter how they treat me. I DO NOT want any longer to hurt others in retaliation for their un-niceness. God, I pray that all around the world you would bring strong conviction to people that we all need to learn to be LOVING and NICE and KIND and so on. When people are NOT nice, oh Lord, it can be really hard and even at times seem impossible to respond to them with the love of Jesus, oh God. But you can do the impossible in us. You can turn us into NICE people, LOVING people, no matter how the world acts toward us, oh God. I pray Lord this prayer with thankfulness in my heart that I believe you will hear and answer my cry, oh Lord. Amen!
When I think of being NICE, I think of KINDNESS. We need a lot more love and kindness and niceness in this world, don’t we? Let’s do our part! Please, friend, let us learn to be LOVING and KIND and NICE by the power of the Holy Spirit of God who inhabits and empowers and pours His love into His followers!
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
Sometimes our flesh “suffers” when we choose to be loving and kind to certain people. We may have to refuse the strong temptation to be impatient, unloving, unkind, mean, vengeful, etc. in response to how they speak and act toward us. We may have to “die to self” in order to act in a godly way toward them when our flesh wants to do everything but be godly. In the verse below, in the King James version of the Bible, we are told that charity [love in some versions]does what? It “suffereth long”. Is that all it says? No, we are to “suffereth long” – and be kind! Now that can be seemingly impossible, can’t it? Oh, but by the love, power, and strength of the Holy Spirit who lives inside the Lord’s followers we can obey Him in this and in all matters!
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind;…” 1 Corinthians 13:4