A couple of weeks ago, I spent the day kicking around in Burnsville, NC. High Pastures Retreat Center is there and is simply an amazing place. God and I have had some good times up there and I tend to drift that way when life gets too hectic here in reality. I walk, sit, pray, cry, write and leave refreshed. This time I took a very dear friend with me. She has been an unexpected bonus in my life this year and I wanted to share that special place with my special friend.
When we got done at the retreat center, we drove into the big town of Burnsville. They have an actual town square and several shops and restaurants. They even have a movie theater! Okay, it only shows one movie, but is truly a cute little place. All in all the town is quite quaint and is always a nice follow-up to my God time on the mountain.
One of the shops we went into is one of those that sells all types of knick-knack, gift-type stuff. Willow Tree Angels. Windchimes. Pottery. T-shirts. And all kinds of plaques and signs to hang around the home. Which is actually where this blog is going….sorta….
One of those signs said, “Because Nice Matters.” Hmmm. That’s been rolling in my spirit ever since. Yes, nice matters. Yet, so many folks no longer practice the art of simply being nice. Our children are far less respectful than the generations before us. (yes, there are exceptions, but I’m speaking in generalities.). My dad was always quite polite with all types of service people. Waitresses, salespeople….you know….those folks whose jobs are to put up with the general public and do it with a smile. He absolutely expected me to say please and thank you to them, if to no one else. I have been shocked as an adult to discover how many people are no longer nice.
And now we’re getting to the real point. The one place we should be able to expect politeness, niceness is the church. Yet, I can assure you that is often the last place you’ll find it. Some churches do well with this, but others fail miserably. Having been the victim of several “sheep bites” just this year, I’m still reeling from the lack of niceness. If we can’t be nice in our churches, with people who are called our brothers and sisters, then how on earth are we going to be nice to the rest of the world?
Jesus gave us our two greatest commandments. Love God. Love people. That’s pretty simple. And I think if you’re not being nice, you’re not loving. We must love. How else will people know about Jesus? And how do we love? Sometimes, it’s so very simple. BE NICE!!! That clerk behind the counter does not care that you didn’t want to wait in line. She’s been in the back of the line all day. She has dealt with some very mean, cranky customers. If you call yourself a Christian, then it is your job to be nice to her. Yes, even if she’s not nice to you! I recently read a Facebook post about Christians tipping in restaurants. I cringed to hear that most waitresses will avoid a table of Christians because they are such poor tippers. I’ve waited on tables. My parents owned a restaurant for 10 years and I grew up learning how to do everything in it. I remember the days of being left a tract instead of a tip. Folks, that’s rude and offensive! These men and women work hard for their money and the restaurant pays them very little. Their tips are their livelihood! What message are we sending when we bow our heads and pray over our supper, yet leave a tip that isn’t even acceptable to the world? I’m pretty sure we’re not saying, “Jesus loves you.”
Yes. Nice matters. Be nice. Play nice. Sometimes we fail. I do. As I’ve pointed out more than once, I’m terribly, horribly, chronically human. But, I have Jesus in my heart and He expects that to mean something. When you do fail…fix it. Apologize. Make it up. Do what needs to be done to repair the damage.
And if you’re one of those people reading this and saying, “But I AM nice!”, then good for you! Keep it up. Be nice and make Jesus proud. Because nice really does matter.
Be blessed and tell someone you love them!