Jesus Wasn't Nice ... But He Was Kind (Part One)

Jesus Wasn't Nice ... But He Was Kind (Part One)

Let me make a bold assertion, the nuance of which may not be immediately clear to you. But you'll understand by the end. My assertion: "Jesus wasn't nice, but He was kind ... while most Christians are nice, but not so kind."


To be kind, you must be more than nice. To be kind, you must desire the highest welfare of the other person. This cannot be achieved without delivering Truth -- that which corresponds to Biblical reality.

Jesus (Sometimes) Wasn't Nice

I recently read an article by Kevin DeYoung that argues Christians should not attend a Gay wedding. I agree with DeYoung, but I'll let you read his thoughts for yourself, here. DeYoung refutes the common mantra today that says: "Jesus would never turn people away from God's love." DeYoung reminds the reader of how often Jesus turned people away in the Gospel of Matthew. The passages he cites are these:  Matthew 7:6; 7:13-27; 11:20-24; 13:10-17, and 19:16-30. I read them, and here's what I discovered: Jesus says some people listening to Him are:

  • Dogs
  • Swine
  • Wolves
  • Bad (unproductive) Trees
  • Evildoers
  • Foolish
  • Doomed (worse than people of Sodom)
  • Blind
  • Deaf
  • Calloused hearts
  • Will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven

Ouch! Jesus isn't very nice, is he? Though not nice in these examples, Jesus is incredibly kind. Why? Because kind declares important truth to someone, even if the words sting, hurt, or offend. And sometimes, the more they sting, the kinder they are. For example, it may be nice for a Doctor to tell his patient that she is healthy – but it isn't kind of him if the patient has cancer.

Whatever corresponds with Truth is kind; whatever evades, dilutes, or obscures Truth (or Reality) is unkind. To merely be nice, but detached from truth, is egregiously unkind.

Two Silly Examples?

I sometimes think if Bill’s nose were the fountain of youth, if the world waded in his mucus, it would grant the population everlasting life. The struggle is real.
You've Got Something Hanging Out Your Nose

So, if your friend (or enemy) has something dangling from her nose, it may be nice to say, "O, you look beautiful today!" Nice, but not kind. Kind would say, "You look beautiful today, but you've got something hanging out your nose. Here is a mirror to help."

So, while nice affirms others, it can be blind toward truth. Kind, on the other hand, affirms people with eyes wide open to the Truth. Kindness can be frank and honest. Admittedly, this type of behavior may be misunderstood by others. You could even become unpopular for your commitment to kindness (well, the truth-giving part), but your unpopularity is only short-term. By the way, our entire 70-80-year-old life is the short-term.

Bad Breath

Years ago, I discipled a student (let's call him, Fred) who was a wonderful young man. Everyone loved Fred, and they were right to do so. But my friend had one problem that not one of his nice friends had the courage to address. Fred had bad breath. All the time. Really bad.

So, what did his friends do? For the most part, they ignored the problem. They affirmed Fred as a friend but refused to enter into the uncomfortable truth that might jeopardize their relationship. Simply put, they were nice, but they weren't kind.

I took Fred into the campus bookstore ... went to the register ... purchased some breath mints ... went outside ... and looked him in the eye. "Fred, these are for you. Your breath isn't good, bro."

Anyone can be nice. Not everyone is willing to be kind.

Fred wasn't happy with me. I think he felt insulted. Or perhaps embarrassed. Or maybe he thought, "Why haven't any of my 'friends' told me this sooner?"

Nice is easy, but kind may cost you.

Before you chop my head off, I didn't say every Christian is this way! Next post, I'll tease out some implications of the distorted view that Christians are primarily called to be nice rather than kind...

Go to Part Two.