“And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’” Matthew 16:14 (ESV)
While kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, niceness isn’t! In fact, Jesus wasn’t really known for being a nice guy! I know that might sound offensive to you, but being nice is not actually a quality of a disciple of Jesus! Check it out, we are never commanded to be nice, but instead urged to overflow with kindness. There is a difference!!! Though Jesus was not rude or mean, He definitely was not there to make people happy, nor did He try to get people to like him. He wasn’t necessarily polite, or politically correct!
Remember at the wedding of Cana when Jesus’ mother informed Him of the shortage of wine and His response? “Woman, that’s not our problem” (John 2:4)! Jesus did not avoid conflict for the sake of being nice! He shook the status quo of the religious people AND their system. He called out, in very strong terms, the religious leaders of His day… and I have no doubt that He still is opposed to them today! A nice person avoids conflict and confrontation! Jesus didn’t and neither should we.
One time, Jesus asked His disciples who people said that He was (Matthew 16:13-16). They quickly replied Elijah, John the Baptist or one of the prophets. Btw, the prophets were not characterized for being nice. Elijah confronted the king and his evil wife Jezebel. He was not afraid to confront the evil government, nor the wicked religious and false prophets! He literally called Ahab a “troublemaker” to his face (1 Kings 18:18)! John the Baptist likewise confronted the king, the system and the religious of his day! He confronted Herod over his adultery. And it cost him his head!
In this hour of thick gross darkness (Isaiah 60:1-2) and evil permeating within the government and so much of the church, God’s glory is coming. The good thing about His glory is His goodness is closely connected to it. When Moses asked God to show him His glory, He let His goodness pass by Moses (Exodus 33:18-19). God may not be characterized by niceness, but He is characterized by kindness and goodness, and so should we!
Cry out for God to stir up kindness and goodness with His people, and to convict us where we seek to be “nice!” Ask Him to release a new, fresh boldness within you to reflect His heart wherever you go, whatever you do. May people see His glory through your kindness and goodness. May you not seek to “please others” and try to get them to like you. Instead, may you always speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Pray that your pastor, church leadership and congregation would likewise display His glory through goodness and kindness and speaking the TRUTH in love!