Revelation 3:19 (NIV)
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
Does that sound NICE to you? What is nice? Lets take a look. The definition of nice according to Merriam Webster is: coy, giving pleasure or joy, good and enjoyable. Attractive or of good quality, kind, polite, and friendly, socially acceptable.
Nice people have an agenda, they want something in return. Nice people hide their motives, their pasts, and their differences. Nice people tell little white lies as to not hurt our feelings. Nice people say what is socially acceptable not what God’s word says.
Jesus isn’t any of those things. Jesus is Love, He is loving. What does loving look like?
To be loving is: selflessness, giving, humility, forgiving, hold no record of wrongs, thinking of others higher than oneself, strong devotion, thorough, Jesus is loving. He always tells the truth because He is light. His motive is always pure. Jesus rebukes and he disciplines those he loves. He isn’t concerned with hurting our feelings, He is concerned with our future and our destiny, He wants the very best for us.
So what’s the difference between being nice and loving? A loving person tells the truth when they know it’s going to hurt you. A loving person is concerned more about your heart than their appearance. A loving person says I am going to go through this painful thing with you even if it hurts me. A loving person is willing to get dirty and messy going knee deep in the mess of our life and continues to look through the mess and still says I love you. A nice person acts like the mess isn’t there, all the while seeing it, but refuses to pick up the broom to help clean it up. The nice person is scared they will become dirty in the process of helping us clean up our mess. The nice person sees our dirty mess of a past and says, “Your present reminds me too much of my past and I don’t want to deal with my past so I can’t help you.” They go on to say, “But I will pray for you, feel free to call me when your all better.”
I remember a friend of mine shared she was on the mission field once and was helping a young girl maybe 3 or 4 years old and the little girl reached for her hand to hold it. She immediately pulled away because the girl was filthy dirty. She became convicted and reached her hand out to the little girl. The young girl grabbed her hand and didn’t let go for some time walking with her wherever she went. After the day was finished my friend was on her way home and looked at her hand and saw her hands were disgusting filthy and on her hand was a form of the young girls handprint as if painted on her hand. She wanted to wash her hands to remove this filth and dirt and get clean again, she was crying sharing with me how she calls herself a Christian but she was unwilling to get dirty she couldn’t wait to wash that little girls filth off her own hands and be clean again.
I still remember this story from years ago it had a huge impact on me it beckons me to ask these questions. As a Christian, am I willing to get someone else’s dirt on me? Am I willing to get dirty to help them? Or am I the Christian that wants to stay clean because all I care about is what others see and my own image? Am I refusing to help others for fear my own junk may be revealed? If I am selfless, loving, thinking of others higher than myself, then I am not concerned at what the cost is to me, because I am more concerned with my friend. God’s word teaches us to be loving because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19 (NIV)
We love because He first loved us.
God loved us while we were covered over our head in the sin of our lives and He loved us, so that we may love others. Are we LOVING? Or are we acting nice? I am guilty of being nice trying to protect myself from facing my past and keeping those people (the dirty ones) at a distance. Lord Jesus help us to be willing to grab a broom and start cleaning house. God give us the courage to allow the cleaning to take place in ourselves as well. Just maybe God is trying to heal us through someone else’s heartache, pain and grief if we’re willing to get dirty. Lord forgive us for not loving our neighbor as ourselves, forgive us for thinking we are better. God create in us a clean heart in Jesus name amen.
Psalm 51:10 (NLV)
Make a clean heart in me, O God. Give me a new spirit that will not be moved.