Not Nice!

Have you ever wanted to stab someone in the eye with an ice-pick because they said you were nice?  Me, neither, but I hate being called, “Nice”.  I want to smack people who think I am nice and exclaim, “I’m not nice; I’m redeemed.”

Okay, I understand why that doesn’t work. But I tire of being dismissed as a nice person who happens to be a Christian. Although I am a church kid with no harrowing story of the crime and wickedness out of which I was saved, I have looked into my heart.  Apart from Christ, it is foul and dark—desperately wicked.  I am not nice.  I am saved.

Of course I should resist the temptation to be mean and edgy just to avoid being dismissed as nice.  But there is an offense to the gospel that we shouldn’t blunt with sentimental do-goodality. I want always to add “sin no more” to my “neither do I condemn you.”

In all the church’s good works we run the risk of being seen as just another social service to which our clients are entitled. I want to push beyond niceness by sitting with the hungry and the homeless, looking into their eyes, listening to their stories, and letting my heart beat with theirs.

I want a goodness that is heaven-born and purchased by Christ’s blood. A fierce goodness that sweeps away mere niceness and lays down its life for others. A brave goodness that shatters the strongholds of the darkness. I don’t want to be nice.

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About Mark

I live in Myrtle Point, Oregon with my wife Teckla and am the father of four boys. Currently I teach writing and literature at Southwest Oregon Community College. I am a graduate of Myrtle Point High School, Northwest Nazarene College, and have a Masters in English from Washington State University.

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