When I was in the 7th grade something happened that made me a nicer person.
I was in track and field (imagine that) and there was a girl who always gave me a run for my money (see what I did there?) She was smart and pretty and faster than me. She wasn’t a Christian, didn’t attend church or even seem to know much about God, but instead of wanting to win her to Christ, I really just wanted to beat her.
I was a good girl and proud of it. I wore a Rhinestone Jesus pin, remember? But when I heard rumors about her, instead of ignoring them, I listened. When you want to beat a person, there’s always a loser.
We were at a track meet, getting ready to compete against each other again, and I walked out onto the field where my teammates were stretching and I stood there and shared the ugly gossip I’d just hear about her with the whole group.
Everyone had a funny look on their face and when I looked down, she was sitting right at my feet.
I will never forget the look on her face or the feeling in my gut.
I lost more than the race that day, I lost an opportunity to be nice.
I missed the chance to be like Jesus.
It took years, even after an apology on race day, to turn that girl into my friend. And I don’t know if she ever really forgave me for being a mean girl, for being like everyone else.
And you can bet I haven’t been nice every day since (just ask my family), but I always remember that disappointed look on her face.
I think it’s the same look the world gets on their face when they see a couple of Christians hashing it out on social media. We are the best at disagreeing over how to disagree. It’s there when we send a hateful email about a mistake someone made on our order (I’m now privy to customer service emails for a faith-based subscription club, remember?) and we sign it, In Christ?
Being mean isn’righteous indignation that makes a wrong person run to Jesus, it’s just shame. And it’s hard to find Christ in it at all.
Lately, it seems like there’s just a lot of hate. Turn on your news. And I’m not just talking about our broken, confused world. . .I’m talking about the ones who claim to be different than the world.
We’ve all seen it, and maybe some of us have been on the receiving end of it: Pastor-bashing by angry church members on Facebook. ministry-jabbing on Twitter, and name-calling on Instagram–all in Jesus’ name.
It’s wrong. And it looks nothing like Christianity.
We can’t be all “Love wins” and treat people like garbage.
Let’s be nice.
The kind of nice that snaps people’s heads around because we are so kind and considerate –even when it’s underserved–that we look a lot like Jesus.
That’s the kind of nice that draws people to a Savior that was so kind, He died just for them.
Nice guys do win.
Take it from a Christian girl who used to be mean.