Don’t be too nice


I titled this in a very unusual way; but I think you can all guess where I’m going with it.

I just read Martin Luther’s “Before the Diet of Worms” speech. Worms (also spelt Wyrms) is a place in Germany, the Diet is apparently the Emperor and his cabinet,( the paper doesn’t say, but I gathered that from what I read.) I was struck by the points he made about in our effort to not allow fighting and arguments, we might fight against the Word of God itself.

As John Eldredge has pointed out in his book Wild at Heart; there is such a thing as being too nice. You know those people in movies who drive the audience (and often the other characters) nuts because they won’t stand up for someone else or even themselves? Or the type of person who Philippa Gordon, in Anne of the Island, calls uninteresting because “She never says but good of anybody.”

We all know there’s wickedness in the world, and while dwelling on it is gloomy and unhealthy, a person who will never speak of it at all seems hardly wise, smart, or realistic. And they also seem weak.

I have actually been lectured on how I need to know what’s going on in the world, which always means the bad stuff I notice, but I do dislike to think of the unpleasant things. I am not at all saying we should go looking for the wrong stuff in this world. It will find you. And when it does, as it did Martin Luther, we need to be willing to take a stand.

That’s a common phrase to hear nowadays, but taking a stand is a serious thing. It always has risks; it always could turn out badly, from our perspective anyway. We could be mocked, or ostracized, or we could simply fail to change anything.

And what’s more, we need to realize that not everything is worth standing for. For me the test is always in if it is biblical, if it is affecting an important thing, and if the potential benefits out weigh the potential damage. But I’ve taken very few stands in my life. If that seems surprising given the nature of this blog, then let me just say that it is much simpler to address the questions I have myself, via the internet, then to know when it’s a good idea in real life to make an issue of something. I have less to lose, and I am not fighting with my audience. That is not to say honesty on social media is not scary no matter who you are or how many followers you have, but real life is always more daunting.

When we take a stand we must care more about the truth then about what we want. But we also need to be loving and kind to the people we are standing against, remembering that they are human being just like us. Kindness does not equal niceness, it is unkind to be nice to someone who really need a good shaking up. It is also unkind to shake someone who really needs a hug. It about what is needed, not what either party wants.

A stand can be quiet, or it can be loud. It can be silence, or it can be yells and shouts. Both are right in their own time and place. But yelling doesn’t make something a stand. And quiet doesn’t mean kindness. It’s all in the reason.

But never taking a stand is worse then not making it perfectly. We are so anxious not to offend people. We are so concerned with who likes us. (Even now I can’t help wondering if I’ll get any likes or comments on this post.) I have seen a problem either ignored, or handled in the nicest possible way, so many times, and very few times have I seen anyone really take the harder route.

You know, we’ll never be complete human beings until we will fight for something with all our might and main. Sometimes it will even be with ourselves. But we can’t sugarcoat everything. We can’t keep turning a blind eye, unless we want to turn blind next.

This has been a little less encouraging than usual, but I hope you’ll take it not as criticism, but as a challenge to look around and face things with courage. I know the Martin Luther inspired that feeling in me. I just want o pass it on. With that–until next time.



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