“Help us celebrate our commitment to making the world a nicer place.”
Just Be Nice® is an international movement with a very simple and succinct message: “Just Be Nice”! According to their web site, Just Be Nice® the group’s goal is to have 100,000 cars sporting JBN bumper stickers by December 31, 2014.
“Our mission,” they state, “is to spread the JBN message far and wide and to help make a difference in your community and ours. Today, tomorrow, this year, share what’s inside your heart by putting a JBN bumper sticker on your car, message board, refrigerator, etc. Just Be Nice is a simple message everyone can relate too…..because being nice really does make a difference.”
When I read this, I had to smile. I remember having a “Just Be Nice” bumper sticker on a bulletin board when our kids were growing up. It was something we said them when they needed some encouragement! In fact, I can remember my Mom, with some hint of frustration in her voice saying, “Can’t you boys just be nice?
A nice person is agreeable. Amiable. Pleasant. Delightful. We know when a person is nice. And we know when they aren’t very nice.
While the word “nice” is not used in the Bible. It is a Biblical concept. In Ephesians 4:32 Paul exhorted, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” In other words “be nice!” It is nice to be kind. It’s nice to be compassionate. It’s nice to be forgiving toward our friends, our family and our brothers in Christ.
If you want to know what nice looks like, just look at Jesus. Study His teaching. Look at the way He treated others. See how He lived. Listen to what He said. Peter fittingly summed up Jesus’ life by saying. “He went about doing good.” In other words, he was simply nice to folks.
In his famous treatise on love, Paul wrote in I Cor. 13:4 “love is kind.” To be kind is to be nice. Indeed love has many wonderful qualities—patience, persistence and not being puffed up. But simply being nice is also a great demonstration of love.
Mark Twain once said, ““Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Indeed just being nice to people breaks down barriers that often divide people. Physical. Mental. Even emotional. Being nice knows no bounds of race, gender or social class. Being nice will traverse the so called “generation gap.” Niceness will conqueror prejudice, pride and partiality.
Being nice can be heard in kind words, seen in thoughtful deeds, and felt in a warm embrace. Being nice is not something you do, but it is the way you are. Being nice is an attitude. Being nice is a way of life that begins at home, is practiced at work, and is applied at school. Being nice can even be exercised while driving through rush hour traffic! And being nice is a great quality to exhibit when responding to someone on facebook!
When I’m nice, I respond to my wife, Norm Jean, with pleasant words. Sometimes we can get irritated and agitated with each other and our words become prickly. When that happens, I need to adjust my attitude, change my tone and just be nice!
When people test my patience, I need to be nice. When they let me down, I need to be nice. When they display annoying habits, I need to be nice.
I’m reminded of the 5 year old little girl saying her bed time prayers one night and she was overheard praying, “Lord, help the bad people to be good. And help the good people to be nice!”
Any good people out there want to take on that challenge this week? And you don’t have to buy a bumper sticker to do it. Just be nice!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman