I was riding on a New York subway a few years ago and a sign on the wall caught my attention. It said, “Be nice, people like that.”
“Be nice, people like that” sounds like a very obvious way to live, but how often do we forget or just can’t seem to find it within ourselves to to be nice in our daily dealings with others?
How often do we fail to be caring, kind, polite, patient and considerate of others, especially those close to us, and instead behave far from nicely?
When some of our kids were younger, they were known to be absolute angels at school, yet all their angelicness disappeared on coming home. I would ask in exasperation why they were so good at school but seemed to find it so difficult to be nice once they arrived home? They’d tell me it was because they’d used up all their “niceness” during the day.”
I think we can all feel to some degree like we’ve used up all of our nice reserves at times. We can get exhausted by other people and their drama, have unresolved hurts of our own or the circumstances of the world around us cause us not to want to be so nice anymore.
Fortunately, God is not phased by our inability in ourselves to be nice and pleasant all the time. He says that as we draw close to Him, He sheds His love abroad in our hearts, which means we no longer need to try to love or live only from our capabilities. Our niceness will run out, and the more pressure we find ourselves under the quicker it will happen. However in Jesus we have an unlimited reserve as we allow His power and love to fill and work in our hearts.
The more we spend time with Jesus and realise who we are made to be, the easier it is to act and speak with love and “niceness” continually. It just starts to flow out of us, and the more we draw near to Jesus, the freer it flows.
Today, if you are struggling to be “nice”, ask Jesus to remind you of who you are in Him and what He says about you.
Let go of any negative self talk about your life and future and start to focus on what God says about you as you make fresh plans with Him. (It’s often when we feel disappointed or hopeless about our future that we start to turn on those close to us in not very nice ways).
Open up your heart and invite Jesus to fill your heart with His love so that it overflows in every area of your life; in your thoughts, emotions and heart.
Be encouraged that as you grow to understand who you are in Jesus, discover His plans for your life and allow His power to work in your life continually, you need never worry about your niceness ever running out again. Instead you will start to be someone whose life is full of the fruit of being connected to the ultimate source of all that is excellent and true.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
“For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:5)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Prayer: Lord, thank you that I don’t have to go through life trying to be nice alone, because when I open my life up to you, your goodness is able to flood my heart. Please help me every day to take the opportunity to be nice to others, because not only do other people like that, they also need it too. In Jesus name Amen