Are Believers supposed to be nice in every situation?

The first time I heard the expression from Voddie Baucham, “Many of us are obeying the 11th commandment (thou shalt be nice), to the exclusion of the other 10,” I thought it was a funny way to express what many of us may think or at least observe. Presumably, people of the church would be considered in most circles as “nice people.” This, for the most part, is obviously not a bad thing. To be clear, no one is advocating for Christians to be jerks. But here’s the question: if we are only known for how nice we are, and we have no one pushing back against us because of our convictions, how are we any different than the culture? I know a lot of extremely nice secularists. How are we different? How are we salt and light, as we are called to be in Scripture (Matt 5:13-16)?

Oozing niceness

Christians are known to be the ones to sing about how we can trust in God, because He has our back! He is our advocate and our protector. It’s all going to be OK. Trust us, because we’re really nice! Just turn on K Love for a huge dose of what could be the audio version of a Christian Hallmark channel. “Positive and encouraging” and again, oozing niceness.

Are we compromising?

And maybe it’s the snarky part of me rearing it’s ugly head, but I can’t help but think this kind of Christianity is about a mile wide and an inch deep. Niceness sounds great (and again, for the most part, it is!), but our faith isn’t that simple. It seems as if lately, we are compromising biblical Truth and morality in order to be “nice.” Which begs the question, are we choosing what’s best or what’s easiest?

The rub often comes when life happens and we are left to make a decision. It may look generally something like this: Do we take the path of least resistance? Or do we stick to biblical convictions?

Who’s voice are we listening to?

Often, the loudest voices are the ones that are heard and amplified in many ways right now. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the majority opinion, let alone if they’re based on Truth. According to the loud and, often times, popular opinion, their voices are the most important and offer the path of least resistance. So should we be “nice” and go with the flow? Or do we go against popular opinion and base our Truth on Scripture and objective facts?

The 10 commandments and pebbles

I think it’s so important that we remember that God expects us to not only love one another, but to love and honor Him. And what helps us to keep this in mind has already been spelled out for us in the 10 commandments. The first 4 commandments are how we relate to God. The last 6 deal with how we relate to others. And if we assume that they are in order of importance, how we relate to God trumps how we relate to others. There is clearly overlap, but if we must choose or prioritize, as Believers, we must always pick God first.

And that brings me to my pebble story. I love listening to Greg Koukle from Stand to Reason podcast. He talks a lot about being a pebble in someone’s shoe. Is being a pebble in a shoe “nice”? Not exactly. But the pebble is there to get your attention and help point you to saving faith in Christ. So if the pebble is a pain, isn’t that unimportant? If the pebble is irritating, isn’t it worth taking that risk in order to bring someone to the hope we have in Jesus and sharing truth? Keeping the pebble comfortably out of someone’s shoes may be the “nice” thing to do and will definitely avoid conflict, but it’s not going to help them understand their need of a Savior and/or the reality of biblical truth.

Lots of nice people

The church is currently full of a lot of very nice people. For the sake of clarity and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, again, this is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when it’s the priority, there’s a problem. I listened to a discussion recently with Voddie Baucham (can you tell I greatly admire this man?), Eric Metaxas, and Charlie Kirk. The discussion was awesome and well worth the time to listen to it in its entirety. But towards the end of the discussion, Eric Metaxas had an excellent point about the niceness factor. We as Believers are so afraid of taking away from our Christian witness, that we will do anything not to mar that. If we know it will offend, we remain silent because it could push people away from believing in Christ.

No pebble, no offense, but yes problem.

What Jesus are we sharing?

If people don’t realize their own depravity and God’s infinite holiness, what Jesus are we sharing? Aren’t we painting a picture of a benign god who demands nothing and does nothing, based on our own demands and expectations? Doesn’t that sound more like an idol than the God of the Bible?

God’s Word is offensive. And guess what? Oh well. It is what it is. Obviously we are not to be offensive when we communicate with others, and we are to be as gracious and kind as possible. But the Words of God that we are called to communicate can be offensive. If others are offended by them, so be it. They aren’t offended at you, but at God’s Word, whether they recognize it or not. We are simply called to be obedient. We must choose to be more worried about offending God rather than man.

I encourage you all to think about how we can prioritize Truth and God’s Word over everything else. And remember, being offensive for the right reasons, rather than being “nice,” is something we have been called to do (2 Tim 3:12). If no one is ever offended by what you share based on Truth and Scripture, that should be indication enough that there may be a problem (Luke 6:26). Bring it to the LORD and pray for boldness, grace, holiness, and truth to the glory of God! This is a constant personal prayer of mine as well.


©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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