ACTS International
Home Page of ACTS International
Home Page of ACTS InternationalHow to Find and Know God without having to be religiousLife Help Articles dealing with faith, family, and practical helps for purposeful livingDaily and Weekend Encounters with more than a third-of-a-million worldwide subscribersSupport the Work of ACTS International a not-for-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible for U.S. donorsCurrent report on the ministries and services of ACTS InternationalOnline Store of ACTS ... ACTS CommunicationsAbout ACTS International
ACTS International Home Page Click here for the current issue of  Daily Encounter
Tell a Friend Site Map Share and/or Bookmark
Articles > Success: > Being Nice or Being Christian?

Being Nice or Being Christian?

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."1

In training for Christian ministry I recall one of my professors stating that every church had a church boss; that is, someone or a small group who, often behind the scenes, control the happenings of the church. This isn't usually the pastor or priest. Today we call these people control freaks. They have a neurotic need to control others in order to feel okay about themselves, when in reality they do this because deep down they don't feel okay about themselves. They are very insecure.

William Easum calls them bullies. After years of consulting with churches he said, "I have seen a disturbing pattern: Most established churches are held hostage by bullies. Some individual or small group of individuals usually opposes the church's making any radical change, even if it means the change would give the church a chance to thrive again. Courageous pastors often ask, 'What do I do when one or two persons intimidate the church so much that it is not willing to try something new?'"2

Easum's response was either to convert them, neutralize them, or kick them out. To which some cry, "That's not very Christian."

The point is that sometimes (not always, by any means) we Christians are just too nice. That's more because we are too afraid to stand up to bullies and call their bluff—not because we're Christian. We'd rather keep the peace than rock the boat.

True, we are to be loving, but that doesn't mean we always have to be nice. I recall hearing an employer share how he was accused of not being Christian by an inept employee he was firing. So he said to the employee in question, "Well I'm going to lovingly fire you." If, after being given several warnings and help to improve, an employee is not pulling his or her weight, it isn't loving to let him off the hook. In fact, it is reinforcing his irresponsibility, which is anything but loving. Neither is it loving to allow bullies to control a church.

So let's not confuse loving with being nice. Jesus was always loving and compassionate as this was his nature, but he wasn't always nice. Think how he turned over the tables of the money changers
merchants who were ripping off the poor in the house of God, no lessand drove them out of the temple with a whip, and how he scathingly scorned the religious bigots who loved their doctrines more than they loved people, and used their teachings to control people for their own ends.

Jesus knew the value of tough love. Not that it's easy. In fact, it can be very difficult, but we need to exercise it too when such is called for.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I confess that I am often afraid to exercise tough love for fear I won't be liked. Please help me to overcome my fear and give me the courage to exercise tough love when tough love is what is required. And give me the insight and grace to know how to do this in a firm but loving manner. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV).
2. William Easum, "On Not Being Nice 'For the Sake of the Gospel,'" Net Results, April 1997.


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.

    Back to Return to previous page Previous Page    
Site Map   Top
Find Peace With God footer
About God
About Faith
Ask the Teacher
Better Living Tips
Words of Love
Words of Inspiration
People Power for Jesus
Simple and Effective Witnessing for Christ

Spanish Espanol
French Francois

Daily Encounter
Weekend Encounter
Encuentros Diarios
When God Is Silent
Prayer Partners

Special Needs

Helps and Studies
Today's Reading
Annual Reading

Today's Quotes
Happiness Test
Stress Test


ACTS Websites
ACTS in Action Report


Syndicate ACTS Articles
"I Hate Witnessing"
   Audio—No Charge

Opening Closed Minds
Effective Communications
Jesus, the Communicator
Punching Holes in
   the Darkness

About ACTS
Be an ACTS Friend

People Power Invite
Privacy Policy
Snail-Mail List
Contact Us/Feedback

Online Bookstore

Site Map
Report problems to ACTS International
All pages in this site © Copyright 2005-2019 by ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545, San Clemente, CA 92673 U.S.A.
HOME   Daily Encounter  Find Peace With God