On Love, Kindness, and being Nice

Love is kind, and patient, and we all know the verse.  But one thing love isn’t (always) is nice.  We often conflate love with niceness, because being nice is, well, nice.  Nice is pleasant; nice is agreeable.  However, nice is not a virtue, and while love should be kind and gentle, it should not always be nice.

The thing about love is that truly loving behavior sometimes requires us to become uncomfortable, and to make other uncomfortable, because not to do so would be far worse.  

As a very simple example, say you were to see a young child reaching their hand out to touch a hot burner.

You would not likely think to yourself, “well, it wouldn’t be nice to say no.  He probably has a perfectly good reason for doing that.  It’s not really my place to interfere.”

No, it’s far more likely you would immediately stop the child, and scold him for the attempt.  It would not be fun for you, and if questioned, the child will certainly say he would never have wanted to be scolded.  Scolding for bad behavior isn’t “nice”, but it is surely more loving than allowing a child to burn himself.

And so, when we witness others in sin, lovingkindness means that we should, gently, compassionately, but nevertheless firmly call them out on it.  For while confrontation can be painful, and no one “enjoys” an intervention, it is better to help out brothers and sisters in Christ extricate themselves from sin than to allow them to continue, at great cost to themselves (though they may not recognize the cost). 

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2 thoughts on “On Love, Kindness, and being Nice

  1. donalgraeme says:

    I hadn’t realized you had started a blog PG. If you decide to start blogging again let me know so I can include you in my blogroll.

  2. Oh wow, thanks! I’d be honored ^-^ If I ever get to anything approaching regular, I will let you know, and be much obliged to you.

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