When I think of being nice, it’s very general to me. Most people know how to be nice. Using good manners, Talking to people respectfully, apologizing when necessary, etc. these are Some of the ways I try to teach my children to be nice. In my head, I can vision my children playing with other children, and at some point, I will have to say “be nice”. This way I am teaching them to outwardly be have whether they like it or not. Of course in hope that they will be trained up to be a truly nice person from the inside out.
I’m not the judge, but I believe I know many adults who know how to “be nice”. But just being nice doesn’t really cut it in the kingdom of God. He wants us to be nice because we have kindness, patience, compassion, gentleness, humility, and love in our hearts. It’s God’s will that we are used as vessels of His unconditional love to one another.
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
So I think again back to the children, but from a different point of view. When we see them behaving “not so nice” we try to teach them to “be nice”, but sometimes there is a deeper reason for the misbehavior. As their parents, we try to figure this out. It could be that they are hungry, tired, afraid, etc…it makes all the difference to understand the root cause and offer a solution.
As adults, sometimes our behavior stems from the same reasons. I always try to remember the acronym HALT. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. It helps me Cut myself off from misbehaving, and also helps me try to understand others bad attitudes. Most of the time, we more than likely will not know what someone’s bad attitude is stemming from, but that is also kind of the point…
You never know what is going on in someone’s life that mold’s them over time or in the moment. What matters is how we react. We can’t think of our own frustration; we must think of the other person, and handle them with love and compassion, rather than harshness in return.
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
And if it feels like you can’t understand, and you can’t find a kind response in your heart, then “be nice”. Your reaction could change someone else’s bad moment.
I challenge you to “be nice” next time and each time you feel tried by someone’s attitude. You never know how it can change a situation or a life!
I would love to hear about your experiences with this in the comments below!
Lord, I am so thankful that You love me, and that You extend Your compassion to me. And because You first loved me, I can truly love. Please help me to extend the same love and compassion to those around me, whether they are easy or difficult to give it to. I pray that You would clothe me in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; that I might share You with each person that I meet. Use me as a vessel of Your love, and help me to remember always that I am Yours. I love You, Father. Amen