NICE FOR WHAT D

Nice for What?

You were the nicest yet it seemed no one wanted to stick around and reciprocate. You didn't win many proposals or promotions. And what's worst, you often the only 'nice' person around - you weren't intentionally selfish in any arena and that seemed to make you a target in certain circles. You seemed to always get the short end of the stick and were often forgotten and 'slept on'. So what is the point?

When I was little, I was teased for walking, eating, talking, basically doing any normal human activities slower than those around me. I was much younger than my other first cousins and was often added onto their activities so their parents could show them responsibility. I was also one of the only darker complected cousins at the time, which made me feel even worse about my identity and attractiveness. We didn’t have a lot of money for name brand clothes or shoes or hairstyles, which made me feel like I didn’t have much of a social status – people weren’t eager to hang out with me. This is when I took it upon myself to be the nicest girl in my circles – it wouldn’t require much money, style, or beauty so it was something unique I could offer my ‘friends’.

No one wanted to let you sit next to them on the bus? I would! No one wanted to trade their lunch with you? I would! The light skinned girls ignored your advances so they didn’t hang with you at the movies? I would! I was trying to be the least fussy, materialistic, and complicated nice girl you ever met…for years!

I wanted to be an uncomplicated girlfriend, best friend, travel buddy, wing (wo)man, coworker, church leader, business partner…

But there is a price to pay for ‘nice’. You don’t oppose, interject or confront. You don’t disagree or disapprove. You’re never the ‘star’ only the backup supporting cast that never complains.

As I got older, I realized that there was a reason some people didn’t choose to be the ‘nicest’ person in the room. You were taken advantage of the most. More heartbreak, abandonment, rejection, disappointment… Your hopes were always high and so imperfect people (everyone at some point) let you down more often. You were the nicest yet it seemed no one wanted to stick around and reciprocate. You didn’t win many proposals or promotions. And what’s worst, you often the only ‘nice’ person around – you weren’t intentionally selfish in any arena and that seemed to make you a target in certain circles. You seemed to always get the short end of the stick and were often forgotten and ‘slept on’.

So what is the point?

When I accepted Christ in my life as a young adult, it was one of the first concerns I researched in the scriptures. I expected to see a version of an angry God smiting everyone who ever hurt my feelings. But that is not what I found! Instead, I found the following in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus’ own words…

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.”

Talk about going the extra mile! The scriptures later went on to state…

“43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

So I was being ‘nice’ for the wrong reasons, but the ‘nice’ was actually scripturally sound. Now I find myself with a different purpose when coaching clients around rejection and offense. From the Biblical perspective it is the expectation of Christ followers to be kind and gentle, but with a Kingdom mindset. Not because people will be nice right back, not for appreciation sake – but for the sake of representing God well.

Intention matters! I am freer in my well treatment of others, even those who may reject me in one way or another. I know that my Father in heaven is pleased that I am choosing to represent Him well and so I do not expect people to respond with gratitude. And it is ok to love on people because of who you are – just make sure it is not for the purpose of gaining their favor one way or another. If they do, that’s a bonus and maybe even a friend.

 

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