Last time, I asserted: "Jesus wasn't nice, but He was kind ... while most Christians are nice, but not so kind." With that assertion, I proceeded to give some examples of being nice vs. being kind (like nose and breath problems). You might benefit from reading that post first.
In this follow-up, I'd like to tease out some implications of this distortion between being nice and being kind, especially as it relates to current cultural topics. First, let's lay the groundwork...
Why is This Important?
Sadly, I'm encountering Christian ministries who are trying to be nice at the expense of being kind. They're twisting themselves into pretzels attempting to be nice to the sexually confused-deluded-or-wrongly-attracted. But they are not being kind because they are not getting to the Biblical root of the problem: Sin and our sin nature. They whitewash indwelling (unchosen) sin and excuse it as an identity or orientation ... to be endured (or embraced) rather than put to death.
Why does this happen? Why do "Christian organizations" value being nice above being kind? I ask myself this question almost daily. The only answer I've found is that many large Christian ministries are under a delusion, because their practices are more informed by cultural norms than by the Bible. It's as if Christian Leaders have ceased to be serious students of the Bible, with the obvious collateral damage of not having the mind of Christ.
This is clearest in discussions about LGBTQ and the Christian faith. Two months ago, I posted an address by Rosaria Butterfield. She hits the nail on the head, exposing their superficial understanding of the Bible (and a superficial understanding of repentance) that many Christians call "Christianity."
In what universe is it kind to tell a man, a biological male, that he can be a woman? There is no such universe. To call "gender" malleable to one's feelings is a form of insanity. It may be nice to say, but it certainly isn't kind. Doing so shows no interest in the person's eternal well-being. Affirming untruth is not loving your neighbor, no matter how much it may hurt them to hear.
The Distinction Between Nice and Kind
I believe there's a world of difference between being "nice" and being "kind." Nice means I will treat you the way you want to be treated. I will affirm your life choices, whatever you decide to do or be. For example, let's say you're a brilliant mathematician. I will be nice by commending your aptitude with numbers. If you choose to be an accountant, a scientist, or an actuary, I am being both nice and kind to you in affirming that you are using your talents and time wisely.
But what if, instead, you choose to work in a junkyard or in politics (oops, are those redundant? Just kidding.)? If you are a brilliant mathematician and decide to devote your life to collecting metal scraps, it may be nice of me to commend your work choice, but it wouldn't be kind.
The question is, do you want me to be nice and affirm everything you've already decided is best ... or ... do you want me to be kind and attempt to help you comport your life with truth and reality, so that you might flourish within the aptitudes that uniquely make you, you?
You can be nice without being kind. You can be nice without engaging with Truth. But you cannot be kind to someone without a heart to align their lives with Truth.
Put another way, you can offer false compassion to someone by always affirming their choices, no matter how ill-conceived or wrong they might be. But this is not true compassion, is it? To give a man a gallon of gasoline to drink because he thinks himself to be a car ... may be nice, but certainly isn't kind.
The distinction looks like this:
Nice = Affirmation.
Kind = Affirmation or Non-Affirmation based upon Truth.
He, She, They, Ve, Xe, Ze ...
Today, especially among American Christians, there is a deeply sloppy "niceness" spreading that is not kind. It is at odds with Truth, the Bible. So, for example, some Christians have adopted an errant policy of honoring confused transgendered people by addressing them by their preferred pronouns. This approach has even garnered a pithy name: pronoun hospitality. This may appear nice of Christians to do, but it certainly isn't kind. At all.
To help legitimize a lie inside of a person who is currently experiencing delusion isn't kind. It's rather evil. Malicious. After all, you are willing to affirm a falsehood in somebody else, and are placing yourself in the position of telling the transgendered person something that God would never say to him or her. God made this person in His Image, as a male or a female, while still in the womb. To affirm their choice to change sides (male to female or female to male) or choose no side (non-binary, etc.) is to oppose the way that God created this person. You are lying to them.
Some argue that it's kind to 'white lie', if it will grant you an audience to share the Gospel with them ... and they can figure out God's truth about their identity later. But, this is mighty arrogant, isn't it? To presume that God's Word isn't as good at sharing the Gospel as we are? That His Word has inconvenient truths in it, rather than simply truths? And if this person comes to believe the Gospel, what will they think of your unwillingness to tell them the Truth from the start?
Two months ago, I wrote about Rosaria Butterfield's address at Liberty University. Near the end of her message, she "names names" of Christian organizations that are making this error – of being nice but not kind, in order to gain a hearing with the lost. This is an enormous error. To raise the virtue of being "nice" above the virtue of holding to "truth" will one day yield a world that is neither nice nor true. Below, I am attaching her message for the second time. 35 minutes of clarity ahead.