Do you believe that others will know you are a genuine Christian because you are a nice person? It is tempting to think this sometimes. We think that somehow because we are a nice and kind person, people will see that we are different and ask us about Jesus Christ.
But how often does this really happen? How often has someone asked you about your “niceness” and about what drives it?
I would say it’s pretty rare for a number of reasons.
First, there are many, many wonderfully kind unbelievers. Being nice and kind does not really set you apart. In fact, my daughter who used to work at a local restaurant said that the wait staff used to hate when “Christian” concerts and speakers came to town because their fans were often the cheapest and the rudest. What a testimony, huh?
So being nice is not something that describes just Christians and, in fact, many who call themselves Christians make a pretty bad name for the rest of us by not being nice at all.
Second, I would say that while nice people are a joy to be around and to work with, they don’t generally ruffle any feathers or cause conflict (often out of their own self-interest). And, while this may be a good thing in some circumstances, when it comes to someone’s eternal destiny, we sometimes have to risk a few ruffled feathers by speaking the truth of God’s Word.
Third, if we are honest, we have to admit that most people don’t really care about the God of the Bible. They have been blinded by the lie that they can create a being of their own wishes and desires and call it god and they are content to with this. They really aren’t searching because they think they are okay. Welcome to the postmodern world.
So is being nice enough?
I think we can safely say that it is not. Being nice will neither set us apart or give us extra opportunities to share the Gospel.
Does that mean we shouldn’t be nice? Of course not. All of us, as believers, should be very kind to others. We do this because it’s commanded (I Corinthians 13) and not as some evangelistic method.
So how do we set ourselves apart? What will draw people to us when they are hurting or have questions? What will cause them to direct their questions to us if the Holy Spirit starts to work on their heart?
If we are faithful to God and His Word, this will naturally show up in our lives. Not only in our kindness but in many other ways, as well. Someone who loves the Lord sets themselves apart in the workplace by not participating in the off-color conversations and raunchy jokes (Colossians 3:8). Someone serious about their faith doesn’t choose to be entertained at bars, strip clubs, or casinos like their worldly co-workers (James 4:4). Someone who is obedient to the Bible’s commands doesn’t cheat or lie or steal when they could do so without the boss or the spouse or the friend knowing (Colossians 3:9). Someone who loves others will speak the truth with love and grace as God gives opportunity (Proverbs 8:7). They control their tempers and do not hold grudges (Colossians 3:8). Someone who is a genuine believer has the courage to stand up for what’s right and to tell others the truth of the whole Gospel–including the part about sin and repentance (Mark 1:15). And they also have a generous and cheerful spirit (2 Corinthians 9:7). Integrity, honesty, grace, courage, generosity, patience, and, yes, kindness, should be the words that people use to describe us. Of course, we aren’t perfect and we don’t get them right all the time. Some of these are easier for us than others. But we should be different in a myriad of ways–not just by the fact that we are “nice”.
It is about so much more than being nice. It’s about being wholly dedicated to the Lord so that when people are searching they come and find you. Anyone can be nice. But it takes a genuine believer to point people to Christ with both their words and their actions.