The “nice” ministry


Be polite!It is appalling to me the number of Christians who are rude. I run across these Christians on a daily basis – they cut me off in traffic, they are impolite to check out clerks at Dillon’s and they craft hateful blog posts. But I know they’re Christians because they have Jesus fish on their cars, wear Christian t-shirts and boldly proclaim their devotion to God in their “about me” sections.

I think before we have any lessons about doctrine, evangelism or ecclesiology, we should begin with the basics of manners.

Because Christians should be nice.

It is incredible the impact that a smile or kind word have on a people .

I worked in the food service industry for a couple of years (let me make a quick shout-out to my peeps at Applebee’s – WOW Them!), and I can’t tell you how awful it was to serve the Christians. They would come in on Sunday afternoon in groups of about 20, dressed in their Sunday best (so we knew they were Christians) and were the most demanding, inconsiderate and unsympathetic groups we were forced to deal with. And, perhaps worst of all, they were the worst tippers – sometimes leaving a one dollar bill and fake 20 dollar bill that, when fully opened, shared the saving message of Jesus. I know of not one server who ever committed their lives to Jesus after receiving this evangelistic tool (I could make a joke about the individual who left the fake money being an evangelistic tool, but I will refrain. This is, after all, a post about being nice.).

I love that Romans 2:4 tells us that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, not His righteous judgment or condemnation. His kindness. His kindness.

So, let’s be like God. Let’s stop being jerks. Let’s start being the best tippers, the most polite drivers and friendliest grocery store patrons. I think we would be amazed by the results.

EDIT: If you visited the link with the posters, I hope you were appalled. These are created by a Christian blog and supported by our friend Ken Silva and his readers. The fact that they mock very real and very valid concepts AND make hateful implications about the people pictured shows just how badly Christians can screw up this kindness thing. Here’s an example of someone getting it right. She didn’t respond with anger (as I confess I was about to do when I first came across them), she responded with kindness and meekness.


  1. August 7, 2007 at 9:26 pm — Reply

    Out of the heart the mouth speaks. Interesting to read what your heart is like.

  2. August 7, 2007 at 9:49 pm — Reply

    Thank you?

  3. Linda G.
    August 8, 2007 at 12:38 am — Reply

    Hey Todd! First I want to say that you are a very good writer. Second, I so agree with what you have written! It is so important to let our lights shine in the smallest of ways, such as those that you mention. The everyday moments often have the greatest impact.

  4. August 8, 2007 at 4:07 pm — Reply

    I think it’s time to just let certain people further marginalize themselves and leave them to their anger without even reacting to them anymore. (Before someone asks, yes, that’s what my heart is like… cold and impatient with ignorance and superior.)

    As to your actual post, Todd, as someone who tutors young adults in all kinds of subjects I’ve found out that there a LOT of people out there who can’t do percentages — at all. Not even ten percent and then half again (or double ten percent if they’re nice) for a halfway decent tip. They don’t get the “out of a hundred” concept. They just kind of leave the change. So tell your Applebee’s friends not to take it personally.

    But that $20 bill with the mini-tract on it is just wrong… unless it’s accompanied by two more real $20 bills. That might convert me to Jesus and I might even pray. As in, “Jesus, that was nice of them.” (Yes, my heart is also mercenary.)

  5. August 8, 2007 at 10:23 pm — Reply

    Todd, I agree. I haven’t always agreed. There was a time, & sometimes there still are times, when I allow bitterness, hatred, or most of the time straight up fear to justify a mentality or action that I know in my heart is wrong. We hear all the time that we need to love other people. How many times have I said that I can love someone, but I don’t have to like them. Well, I’ll go ahead & say that that is simply not true. We, and by “we” I mean “I,” must not only love people. We’ve got to like them, too.

  6. August 10, 2007 at 2:07 pm — Reply

    Ken – you’re right. And his heart has all the hallmarks of the fruit of the Spirit. Does yours?

  7. August 10, 2007 at 10:21 pm — Reply

    As a nonbeliever I waited tables for several years. I remember one guy who was kind and really touched me, I was living a pretty dark life and I asked for directions to his church. He gave me his business card and I remember sitting back in the soda area really thinking about my life.

    They then proceeded to leave me a dollar on a five top and I put the card in the trash.

    Now God is faithful and everything but that many may have saved me several years of pain and it would have only cost him $4.00.

    How many never move past that point? I had family who were believers but what of those that don’t?

    For $4.00.

  8. September 4, 2007 at 3:57 pm — Reply

    […] few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about being nice. Over the weekend, I came up with some additional ways for kindness to be a […]

  9. September 10, 2007 at 10:43 am — Reply

    […] nice tactic: let a complete stranger use your cell phone rather than use a pay phone. I tried this in the […]

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The “nice” ministry