- The reason I'm broken is because dad spanked me when I was little.
- The reason I'm self-conscious is because my mom loved me too much.
- The reason I can't play ball real well is because I didn't get my parent's support.
- The reason - well, you get the idea.
And with the idea I am laying forth, I know that some who are reading this are already 'steaming' at the very idea that I would say this and in so doing, "belittle people who have real problems."
First, my heart is clean because I have no desire or interest in belittling anyone, let along someone who has emotional issues. But we should never lose sight of the fact that ALL of us are broken and all of us have issues - and it is not necessarily the fault of mom and dad.
However, I do blame my mom and and dad for one thing in my life and that is, "THE NEED TO BE NICE." My parents taught me to always be nice, no matter what someone said, be nice, no matter what someone did, be nice, and no MATTER WHAT, BE NICE! While some people may say that I did not learn this very well, I can and will testify that for most of my 60+ years, the desire of my heart has been to please my parents and by that, please God, by being nice. It is ingrained in me.
Now add to this that for the last 40+ years I have enjoyed the privilege of being a staff person or pastor in a SBC church. I remember how excited I was when I went to my first position in Florida. At age 20, green as a gourd, my thinking was that this has to be a 'dream job' because inside the church everyone would be 'nice' and 'kind' to everyone else. Well, I'm not going to tell you what my dream turned into rather quickly, because there was struggle (and yes, some of it was with me - but most was present when I arrived and was still present when I left.) Through it all, the admonitions of my parents to 'be nice' controlled my thoughts and desires. Whether I conveyed that or not, be assured, that was my desire.
After all these years, it occurs to me that being nice is more a southern tradition than it is a biblical principle. Yes, we should 'be kind to one another' and 'love one another' because these are indeed principles mandates by scripture, but sometimes 'being kind' and 'loving' is not synonymous with being nice. In fact, sometimes being nice is anything BUT Bible.
You and I both have watched churches who are held back, held hostage if you will, by one or two people who seem to have a strangle-hold on the church. Yet, everyone tries to be nice. Sometimes our 'being nice' to church bullies renders us incapable of being 'salt and light' to those who walk in darkness and need the very thing we profess to have, "Jesus, the Light of the World."
While I have thought this for many years, I have not been able to put it down in words until now. And now, only after I've read the article that I've linked, I'm convinced of how we have crippled the powerful church of the Living God by allowing people to run rough-shod over her.
Please take 3 or 4 minutes and read this insightful article by Bill. It may change your (our) perspective on our mission and ministry. Be Nice???