My words have become nice.
What’s wrong with nice?
The problem with nice is that it masquerades as love. It’s like a food spread in a Martha Stewart magazine. The fruit has lipstick on it to make it brighter. The grill marks on the steak are really from a paint stripper. The turkey has been blow torched and stuffed with paper towels. It’s not edible and it’s not real.
A few years ago I was in a hard season. I had moved and was outside of fellowship, I was angry at God about the way some things had gone down in my life, and I was looking for quick connection and comfort.
There I was quite deliberately engaged in an unhealthy relationship that I had no business being in.
On the surface, I still looked like I was pursuing Jesus. I was “church shopping” but dissatisfied. I was going through the morning routine of reading my Bible and getting nothing out of it. I told my friends about my new relationship, careful how I presented this man who was “open to knowing about Jesus, but not really into church.”
Thank God for a friend of mine who saw through my carefully constructed charade. She wasn’t at all concerned about being nice or being liked when she confronted me one day about the broken relationship I was in and my backsliding as a whole.
I got angry at her. I got defensive. I told her she didn’t understand. She started crying. Not for what I was saying to her and about her, but crying for me. For how deceived I was. And she told me that too.
Her words were not nice. They were, however, true. She loved me enough to tell me the truth. With tears streaming down her face, she told me she knew my pain, knew the hurt I carried, but even still, I was accountable and she was going to hold me accountable.
Her words were not nice. They were, however, true. She loved me enough to tell me the truth.
It took another two months for me to extrapolate myself from the sick relationship I was in and even longer for Jesus to heal the sickness in my heart. For a time even, I was embarrassed and avoided my friend, who had seen my sin and loved me too much to be nice to me.
Fortunately, Jesus healed me of that embarrassment too. I can tell you that it was the rawest conversation I’ve had to date and also quite possibly the most loving thing anyone has ever done for me.
My friend who spoke hard truth to me that day in her kitchen knew that being nice to me would have far more disastrous consequences than some hurt feelings. She also knew that calling me out in front of our friends or labeling me a sinner and walking away wasn’t going to open my eyes or soften my heart to the truth either. Through her words and her tears, she expressed not only the truth but her love for me.
The power of my words can bring life or they can cut down, and in that I must guard my tongue from speaking quickly or harshly. I am also responsible for loving well, and sometimes loving well means speaking up and speaking out when staying silent or politely agreeing would be nicer—and easier.
The power of my words can bring life or they can cut down, and in that I must guard my tongue from speaking quickly or harshly.
I want to make loving well a bigger priority than being nice.