Are You Nice? Or Kind?

by Terri Gillespie

Let kindness and truth never leave you—bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3 TLV

A while back, there were these commercials for an energy/snack bar called KIND. It was a thoughtful advertisement because it practically defined the difference between nice and kind.

When I read this passage in Proverbs, I checked out the company’s website. It turns out, the founder of KIND is a child of a Holocaust survivor. Reading his corporation’s mission statement gave me insight into why he named his product KIND.

“Nice means well, but it’s not enough. Kind is different. Nice is polite, but it stays out of it. Kind is honest — it speaks up and rises to the occasion. Nice doesn’t bully, but Kind stands up to bullies. Nice is something you say, whereas Kind is something you do.” DANIEL LUBETZKY, FOUNDER of KIND SNACKS AND THE KIND FOUNDATION

Honestly, up until a few years ago, I had thought of nice and kind as interchangeable. That apparently has been my problem. Even though nice is good, it is frustrating when one assumes it is the same as kindness. What do I mean by this?

I love living in the South. People are so polite, which was refreshing coming from the East Coast where folks tend to be brusque. However, after a few months of living here, hubby and I were disappointed that the politeness — niceness — didn’t carry through to building relationships. It was confusing.

Dealing with the East Coast folks, we knew who and what we were dealing with—we knew our kindness was an act of faith, not fellowship. We were always grateful for the fruits of our labor—the sweet, lasting friendships that developed.

Sometimes, a nice person’s actions are based on feelings — they might crave the on-the-spot approval or validation that niceness gives them. Or they were simply brought up to be polite and nice (which really isn’t a bad thing) and were reprimanded if they were rude (also not a bad thing).

Still, I do like having nice people around. Nevertheless, politeness is a temporary action, not intended to go any deeper. It is pleasant but goes no further. No other involvement of the heart.

Kind people aren’t afraid of sacrifice if the need arises. A polite greeting from a kind person can promptly turn to aid and compassion if required.

Did you know the Bible agrees with this? The word kindness is used in thirty-four passages, lovingkindness one hundred four times! Many times, it is used as an attribute of GOD.

And the word nice? It is only used once. And, not in a “nice” way: “For even your brothers—your father’s house— even they will betray you, even they will shout out after you. Have no confidence in them, even if they say nice words to you” (Jeremiah 12: 6 TLV, emphasis mine).

Really, the difference between kindness and niceness is truth. Truth in our motivations, truth in our actions.

Just as politeness can be taught, so can kindness. But it must begin with a journey of the heart. Seeking the LORD to show us whether we operate in niceness or kindness, or perhaps a bit of both. He will help us refine our motives if we are willing. He will help us see the needs around us and respond according to His will and purpose.

We become His partners — His hands — in kindness. How great is that!

Heavenly Father, I want to learn how to be more than nice and polite. I want to be one of Your partners in kindness. Please show me how, by Your Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. 

Join the conversation: How would you rather be treated: nicely, or with kindness? Why?

Advertisement

Us Loves You

by Debora M. Coty @DeboraCoty

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior.” Psalm 25:5a NIV

My family attended a Baptist church while I was growing up and no excuse was good enough to get out of going, barring coma or gushing blood. As a preteen, I was quite annoyed to be stuck in Sunday night “Training Union” class. I did not wish to be either trained or unified with the other unfortunates, like me, who were forced to be there.

So many more important things to do – bike paths to forge; Lost in Space to watch on TV, homework to ignore.

Instead, I was held captive week after week by Mr. and Mrs. Buford, a childless, elderly couple, neither of whom had completed eighth grade in order to help their families scratch a living on farms during the depression. They owned no television, nor microwave, and had never been on an airplane. Why, they had no idea what a video game was. Unfathomable.

Yet there they were, week after week, month after month, faithful as the springtime rain. I and my know-it-all cronies scoffed at their country bumpkin speech. So uncool.

“Us loves you.”

It was the phrase with which Mrs. Buford started every class. An occasional snicker would burst from one of us enlightened scholars, but the Buford’s never seemed to notice.

Soon they’d have us racing to look up Scriptures, learn the books of the Bible, and win candy for answering Bible story questions. Of course, we acted as if none of this was the least bit fun. Yawn.

“Us loves you.”

Mrs. Buford would close the hour with the same ridiculous phrase, a warm smile crinkling her careworn face. Somehow, I remember like it was yesterday.

Fast-forward thirty years.

My husband Chuck and I are surrounded by a group of 12- to-14-year-olds, all of whom wish they were elsewhere. We are trying to teach them scriptural principles and bring God’s Word to life.

They’re only interested in who got busted Saturday night.

Chuck asks a boy with a purple Mohawk whose father is in prison to read a specific passage of Scripture aloud in answer to his question about how we know the Bible is true. The boy reads haltingly, unsure of what some of the words mean.

We explain it in terms he can understand. He’s still unconvinced. Skeptical. Mistrusting. But for some reason, he keeps coming back. I notice that he listens, really listens, when one of the other boys asks, “Miz Coty, why do you meet with us every week, when all we do is eat your food, wreck your house, and give you one big headache?”

The answer travels through time and registers in my mind as if I’m hearing it for the first time.

“Us loves you.”

Faithfulness has a resonating voice, doesn’t it? In this world of casual abandonment, when we choose to faithfully serve God by using our gifts and abilities to help others in His name, His love shines through like a lantern piercing the darkness.

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you” (Proverbs 3:3 NIV).

We may not preach globally, or teach from an elevated platform, or have more than a handful of Facebook friends, but if we show up day after day, week after week, faithfully glorifying our Savior in the ministry He has custom-designed for us, He’ll be there too.

Whether we’re riding herd on a passel of squirming preschoolers, sweeping up crumbs after a home Bible Study, or invisibly running the worship service sound system, Papa God promises to bless us and keep teaching us the eternal truth of His ways.

And that’s the way I want to go. How about you, my friend?

TWEETABLE
Us Loves You – insight and encouragement from @DeboraCoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

deboracotyAbout the author: Debora Coty lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck, two grown children and four energetic grandbuddies. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Debora’s newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Momsaddresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: Have you ever felt frustration that your ministry is too small? How has/is God using your efforts for His kingdom?