Being nice is not enough

This wonderful picture from Jonny Baker on Flickr reminded me of this piece by Alan Jones called “Being nice and other barriers to love” (Inward Outward):

“One of the most damaging things about the popular view of love is that it requires being nice all the time. I don’t think that I am a particularly nice person. In fact, one of the reasons that I count myself among the believers is that I cannot rely on my being nice to pull me through.

Being nice is closely allied, of course, to being liked. The two go together. If I’m not nice you won’t like me, and if you don’t like me then there is no chance of love springing up between us. This kind of reasoning breeds dishonesty because it means that “love” becomes a code word for avoiding confrontation or disagreement.

True love requires a strict and accurate regard for truth. We live in an age that would prefer the smooth lie to the hard truth. The result is that we are very poor at honouring genuine feelings and hard-won convictions. In the name of caring for each other we often do everything we can to diffuse one another’s passion. We are embarrassed by strong expressions of emotion… Love is reduced to niceness and the passion and the grief are driven underground….”

We cannot be ‘nice’ all the time and I know for sure that niceness isn’t going to get me through. I can’t sustain it. And anyway being nice does not necessarily = love!

Being nice is on the bland side of love. Niceness is the easy route – saying things that other people want to hear. Sliding over the truth.

Niceness is superficial. But love is something way beyond superficial. Love has depth, conviction and passion. Yet the passion is something we want to ignore, especially when it comes to faith.

Christians should not just be nice people (although it is a start :)). We should also love with passion the God who first loved us, the God who revealed the depths of his passion for us in Christ and on the cross.

And then we should share this love with those around us.

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3 thoughts on “Being nice is not enough

  1. Hello.

    I was a Church of Scotland minister, ordained in South Leith – by the sea! I am now a minister with the Uniting Church of Australia working in a shared ministry in Melbourne.
    I wonder if I/we might use some of your images in ppt we use during our services?

    Thank you and Easter joy to you and yours.

    Fiona WInn

    1. Hi Fiona, I am an Edinburgh girl myself. My brother has lived in Leith all his married life, although just last month moved along the water to Granton. Leith to Melbourne is a little further!

      The majority of the images are by Jonny Baker and I think he allows use for worship with a credit, you can check with him by following the link to his flickr page or the link on my blog to his website. Some of the remainder are mine or my brothers which are ok to use, and the rest are rsndom finds on other blogs or sites, if I have credited them then you sould too in reproducing them.

      Best wishes Dorothy

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