This title alludes to something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I've always been taught to be nice and if you ask people I'm generally regarded as a nice dude. I'm respectful, amiable and helpful. But one thing I've noticed over the past while, especially working in the Church, is that niceness can go too far. When being nice overrides being truthful and honest we've got a problem. We've also got a problem when being upfront with truth is seen as rude or insensitive. A lot of my job as a youth pastor centers around people: students, parents, church members, etc. I have to know how to communicate clearly and effectively with people at all times.
Because I'm a pastor, people (both in and out of the Church) expect me to be a nice guy. To go with the flow, to not rock the boat, and to keep up the status quo.
This is stupid. Really, really stupid.
To those that think Jesus was the stereotypical Christian nice guy I say, get your head out of the sand. Read the Gospels. Jesus didn't get murdered because he was nice. He didn't kill the Pharisees with kindness. He pissed them off to the point of murder because he was shockingly honest with them. He told them the truth and they couldn't handle it.
I think we could all use a healthy dose of honesty in our relationships. It would certainly show us who our real friends are.
I want people to be honest with me, to call me on my crap. I want to be able to speak honestly and truthfully without people saying, 'oh my, I thought Christians were supposed to be 'nice' people.' It really pisses me off that Christians, and more importantly Jesus, have been pigeonholed as 'nice' guys.
I've got opinions and thoughts that you probably aren't going to like or agree with, let's have an honest conversation about it instead of sweeping it under the rug of niceness. After all, what is the point of having a relationship with someone who agrees with you on everything? Shoot me now, please.
I want the tension of openness. I want the unfamiliar awkwardness of honesty to become familiar. Iron can't sharpen iron if it's wearing kid gloves. Let's grow up, let's challenge each other and let's engage in honest, open, meaningful relationship.