You know, I’m just asking God about niceness.

If you know me, you’d probably know well that I’m going to tell you the truth. And you’re probably not going to like it most of the time. At least not at first, or so I hear.

I’ve heard some people think I can speak mean or harshly, and it hurt me to know that. I asked Jesus to talk with me about that, because I don’t want to be known as mean or harsh. I do want to be known as the friend who’d tell you about the booger flapping outside your nostril like a tiny hummingbird wing, the toilet paper clinging to your belt like the tail of a kite, or respond in truth when you ask me to answer you truthfully. I think it’s an area we as the body of Christ could use some honest reflection in, if I can be honest. Who wants to know five hours after you leave a hang out, your friend failed to tell you about the booger glistening on your cheek? No one. That’s who.

I remember one girl let me know she was heartbroken. After years and years of girls letting me know they were heartbroken over a boy, this wasn’t my first visit to heartbreak hotel. But this was the first time I felt God give me more than a gentle nudge to hug her or buy her ice cream. There was something that needed to be said. “I waited years for him!” She exclaimed in brokenness. “I know God asked me to wait patiently, and I did!” she cried.

I’m not so lovey-dovey with the romantics of things. So I didn’t feel badly for her as most lovey-dovey types might. Though its tough to see friends going through sadness, I’m not overly emotional about some of these ‘boy’ things. What I did feel, was a shot of truth rise up like a statement in my bones for her life.

“Did God tell you to wait patiently for that guy? Did He promise that specific guy to you?” I asked sort of looking everywhere other than directly at her.

People often choose to see judgement, failure or insecurity rather than love when we shed a little truth. I’m sensitive to truth telling, but fear the free-willed outcome sometimes. I’m just afraid we put a lot of pressure and responsibility on God, all the while the promises He speaks to us are slightly, or very, different from what we attach to His name.

She shrugged her shoulders and walked away for a moment. I felt badly. I didn’t just hug her and buy her ice cream, and now I doubted that truth and wanted a Georgia Mud Fudge blizzard to magically show up in my hands to cover up all I’d just said.

Thankfully she came back before my thoughts eroded my confidence in Christ wholly, and said no. No, God didn’t promise her that specific guy; and He asked her simply to be patient, not to be patient for that specific guy.

It didn’t stroke my ego to know she could humble her heart before a friend and agree. I didn’t need someone to be nice and agree with me, it’s her life after all. Although I did sigh in relief that she didn’t feel judgement, it terrified me that perhaps afterward she might leave and tell people how cold I could be. I didn’t even cry with her for crying out loud.

But God didn’t ask me to cry with her in that moment or curse the kid who could let her pass by. He asked me to ask her a question. A question in which she never had to respond to me, but one in which He wanted her to answer for herself. I think that shot of truth rising in me was God’s protection over her heart. He needed truth to be spoken so she wouldn’t resume sitting sorrowfully in a lie. Sure, she was still disappointed and even sad which made perfect sense, but it wasn’t because of a lie. How often do we let go of the intended protection of truth just to be The Nice Girl or Guy?

And I wasn’t supposed to just be The Nice Girl. It’s hard to find even one scripture of Jesus’ journey in which he is The Nice Guy. I see Him often being the gracious, joyful, kind, merciful, loving guy. I see Him giving grace to the accusers of the adulterous woman, and I see Him being merciful (and short to be honest) to the adulterous woman. I don’t see Him hugging her and validating what doesn’t need validation. He’s far beyond looking at and snuggling our past any longer.

I see Him feeding thousands out of the goodness in His heart- not out of niceness-, and I see Him faithfully teaching Judas in genuine love until the moment death came running towards Him- not putting up with him quietly and nicely like a Nice Guy does. In fact, I even see Him calling Judas’ future horror out even before its time, at the dinner table for heavens sake! That doesn’t seem nice to me. Perhaps though, if we really seen how much Jesus loved Judas, we’d see Jesus calling hope and truth out to Him in hopes for Judas’ future.

I see Him bringing children onto His lap in love, and healing the sick after asking what they really want, but I rarely if ever find Him avoiding truth in grace just to be The Nice Guy.

See when I look at the fruits of the spirit I’m told about something that looks similar to niceness, but not told about niceness. Niceness is not a fruit of the spirit, kindness is. Niceness is defined as being agreeable, whereas kindness is acting for the good of people regardless of what they do. Kindness is goodness in action, some say. And how wonderful for me I don’t have to always be agreeable.

I guess I can be intimidating when its time to get honest. Its tough for me not to just be The Nice Girl. Sometimes I’ll mess it up really good and bring my signature sass to it while I point fingers instead of relay a loving message of truth. Those are the times I’m most certainly repentant of. But I’m learning it’s not only okay to be honest in gracious kindness, it actually looks a whole lot like Jesus to do so.

My hope is for people to see truth and love in the grace and goodness of Christ. Perhaps it might be taken the wrong way, but I need to know at the end of the day I looked more like Christ than I did The Nice Girl. I need to know I stood up for the heart of God rather than coo a fading bruise. To be honest, I’m hoping this whole kindness thing will strike a cord with you too.