One day I got in trouble in my junior high Sunday school class for saying something ghastly: “Jesus wasn’t nice.”
The Sunday school teacher was horrified. “What?! How can you say something like that?!”
“He wasn’t,” I replied. “Jesus wasn’t nice when He made a whip and overturned tables in the temple. He wasn’t nice when He challenged the religious leaders. He wasn’t nice when He yelled at Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ Jesus was NOT nice!” I stood by what I said. I still do.
Jesus wasn’t nice, but He was always kind.
What’s the difference?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “nice” as “pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory.” “Kind” is defined as “having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.” Kindness goes deeper than appearances and good manners; it’s an overflow of love for our neighbor (and even our enemies).
Jesus wasn’t very good at pleasing people’s expectations, being agreeable, or doing what was satisfactory. He loved people so much that He would rather hurt feelings and egos to show love, illuminate truth, and bring out the best in people, than to let people stay the way they were. This isn’t nice; it’s kind.
He was kind when He showed compassion. He was kind when He rebuked and corrected. He was kind when He showed people the error of their ways and showed them the path to life.
“There are three ways to ultimate success:
The first way is to be kind.
The second way is to be kind.
The third way is to be kind.”
Choose to be kind. You don’t always have to be politically correct. You don’t have to obsess over whether or not you offend someone. You don’t even have to be liked. But if you want to be a light in the world, you do need to be kind.
Be kind when you don’t feel like it, when you’re upset, hurt, sad, or just plain not in a good mood.
Be kind when someone needs help.
Be kind when you see a friend doing something destructive and they need some tough love.
Be kind when you see something you disagree with on social media.
Be kind when you’re right.
Be kind to liberals / conservatives / democrats / republicans / libertarians.
Be kind even when someone is being unkind.
Be kind to everyone.