For those who are in Christ, our morals and ethics are rooted in an objective standard: the Word of God. We are the creatures, God is the Creator. We are, therefore, subject to our Creator and His standards. If God calls something sin; it’s sin. If God calls something good; it’s good.
The Word of God has plenty to say on kindness. Kindness is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5. We can also look to Matthew 7:12 which tells us to do unto others as you would have them do to you. We want to be treated with grace, love, and kindness. We should then treat others in that way. Kindness is Biblical, no doubt. I’ve yet to meet a single person, Christian or otherwise, who would disagree on the importance of kindness.
Being nice, however, is not the Gospel. Any person can treat others with kindness; that doesn’t mean they know Christ. Kindness is a part of the Gospel, for sure. It was the grace, mercy, and kindness of a loving God that lead to our salvation. However, the Gospel goes beyond just being nice. The Gospel says that we were sinners in need of saving and we could not save ourselves. Through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, all who believe on Him will not perish but will have eternal life. It is by faith in Christ alone that we are saved.
Being kind to those around us is merely the fruit of a believer. Being nice won’t save us, but it does matter. Being kind is important, but it is not the Gospel. It is, however, something we should strive for. With me so far?
For a very long time, I was convinced that truth was far more important than being nice. That makes sense, right? Sometimes, the truth is going to hurt. I am willing to offend for the sake of the Gospel. I love folks enough that I am going to point them to Christ, even if they hate me for it. I’ve had plenty of folks absolutely hate me for the Gospel I proclaim. That’s to be expected.
Because the Gospel divides, it was very easy for me to justify any and all purposeful offenses. It’s easy to say what I want, when I want, to whom I want…just because I can. Stick with me here, I hope I’m making some sense. It’s very easy to not care about the feelings of others and behave like a bull in a china shop. If the Gospel offends, so be it. I, however, do not need to be purposefully offensive.
Here’s what I’m getting at: we do need to speak the truth IN LOVE (Ephesians 4:15). If we go back to Galatians 5, we also need to be patient, peaceful, gentle, and kind. If we’re throwing our truth bombs out, and we’re in an angry or prideful place; we need to repent. We don’t need to compromise on truth, for sure; but, we do need to be humble and meek.
We do not need to choose between truth or love: be cling to both. While “just be nice” is not the Gospel, a little tact goes a long way. We don’t need to assume a position or superiority nor do we need to belittle the lost. We speak the truth to them in love with grace and humility. This can be a tricky balance to find, but it is possible.
Take care and God bless!