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Nice and Christian

Those two things aren't the same you know.  But often we forget that.  Especially as we try to live in community.  I mean, think about it - what helps our Christian communities function? 

Surely we get along because we all play nice, right?  Empowered by the gospel of course.  We have to add that caveat.  But now that it's added we settle down to the real glue for any community: being nice.  When people are nice, communities flourish.  When people are not nice communities fall apart.  This is obvious.

Just look at Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Yep.  See?  Be nice.  Be nice and everyone will get along.  Cover over all that nastiness with sweetness.  Or polite reserve.  Or effusive flattery.  Whatever you do, don't be nasty.  The minute someone's nasty, it's over.

Really?

Well that would be the case if we were a part of any natural community.  What did Jesus say?  Pagans love those who love them.  (Matt 5:46-47).  You don't need the Holy Spirit to do that.  You don't need the supernatural grace of God.  You don't need a new heart of flesh to be nice. 

So what's going to mark supernatural communities?

Look at how Colossians 3 continues...

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  (Col 3:13)

Natural communities don't have this.  At the first hint of nastiness, natural community fractures.  But for Christians nastiness is an opportunity.  Here's where we truly show ourselves to be the people of Jesus.  We forgive.

Many people think nastiness ends Christian community.  The gospel says nastiness is where Christian community begins.

What about blogging?  A million blogs can be nice.  It doesn't make them Christian.  Now may Jesus deliver us from nasty Christian blogs.  Please Lord!  But niceness is not the cure.  Many may think they have a Christian blog because everyone is nice.  That doesn't make it Christian.  It's Christian if it answers nastiness with cruciform love.

We must bear with each other.  Forgive.  Show mercy towards opponents.  Die to self.  Crucify our own need to prove ourselves.  Answer harsh words with gentleness (Prov 15:1).  That's where Christian community begins

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0 thoughts on “Nice and Christian

  1. Rich Owen

    Good post, Glen.

    For what it is worth, I would hold this blog up as a good example of Christian bloggage. There isn't always agreement and niceness, but these things are dealt with in a gospel way, by Glen and most contributors. Maybe it is the picture of the paschal lamb at the top.

    And at the risk of hijack, for me most importantly, Glen somehow maintains his blog with humility. I'd rather be reading a "nice" blog than a blog which is charged with pride and self obsession.

    I don't know if that is natural for you Glen, or if you fight tooth and nail against your pride, but you do it well - keep going. There are far too many young men who think they owe it to Christendom to record their profound "theological" thoughts. It is embarrassing.

    Jesus bless,

    Rich

  2. glenscriv

    Thanks for your words Rich. I'm obscenely proud. Ridiculously, outrageously, overflowingly, dangerously proud. My pride could consume a city block.

    I'm not sure I fight it tooth and nail. I think more often I'm just floored by its titanic force. And at that point you either take it very seriously (big mistake!) or laugh at how powerless you are in the teeth of your own depravity.

    Two things help me: one is a culture of genuine encouragement. Not niceness or fake flattery or politeness but actual praise of one another. Sounds counter-intuitive but I think that, for instance, your kind words here will help deflate not inflate my pride. Maybe I'll write more on this some time - but I think an interesting mark of our conservative Christian culture is a) a lack of praise and b) a surfeit of pride.

    The only other antidote I know is to speak of Christ. 'Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.'

    Thanks again for your encouragement.
    Glen

  3. Bobby Grow

    Glen,

    I agree with Rich's assessment of you and your approach . . . keep up the good 'humble' work, brother!

    Aren't you glad that "I" suggested that you start a blog . . . really "I'm" the brilliant virtuoso who deserves the credit for your blog ;-) :-) hehe (I'm being ironic and sarcastic here).

  4. glenscriv

    it just doesn't work Bobby - leave irony to the Brits, sarcasm to the Australians. You Americans are just going to have to settle for cheesy sincerity.

    [tempted to use emoticon... refraining...]

  5. Bobby Grow

    Nice catch ;-)!

    I was only clarifying for those who might take me serious, since I am a rather serious/brilliant kind of guy . . . :-).

    Seriously Glen, your points in this post are right on . . . who said being loving is being nice? But then again who said being loving is being a jerk? Doesn't Eccl. say "he who fears the LORD avoids all extremes" . . . ? Keep up the good work ole' chum (do you guys say that in the UK ;-)?).

  6. Bobby Grow

    Ah yes, we have some of the best cheeze around, in these United States, Tillamook that is.

    Now you all come over to my site, and watch me show some Calvinists some good Christian love, ya hear!?

  7. Pingback: Sycamore » Blog Archive » Being Nice vs. Being Christian

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