Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Tyrany of Being "Nice" - Part II

This is an addendum on my post The Tyranny of Being Nice. I was reading one of Wayne Jacobsen’s BodyLife articles today. He has one entitled, “Why Settle for Anything Less.” (Please read it. And the one after it. And the rest of the ones in the list ;) (Did you notice I learned how to do the linky thing? I'm so proud!!)

Jesus is talking to Peter after Peter had denied him. He asks him if he loves (agape) him. Peter cannot answer with that strong a word. He tells Jesus he likes him as a friend. Jesus keeps pushing Peter. Finally Jesus comes down to Peter’s word for friend and Peter, seemingly heartbroken says to Jesus. Jesus, you know all. You know I love (like) you.

Was Jesus being nice? Or was Jesus being kind? Nice would not have made Peter uncomfortable. Nice would have avoided the topic. Nice would have not put Peter’s failures on display for the other disciples. Nice usually does not do anything except put up a false front. Nice usually does not address the person or persons that are in the situation, (Usually though, nice will tell everyone else what the person did. I have found that nice gossips a lot!) Jesus was not being nice.

But did Peter need to have this issue resolved? Did the other disciples need to see that Jesus and Peter worked through this issue? Yes! Therefore Jesus was kind in addressing it. He did not care that it made Peter uncomfortable. (or the other disciples who had also run off) Jesus had a point to make. Peter I take you at where you are. I am OK with friendship. I will cook you breakfast and sit with you like before. I will ask the hard questions. I will meet you where you are able to meet me.

Wayne Jacobsen says this:
I am convinced that we understand little of this incredible love. Yes, it forgives wrongs suffered, but not without honoring truth. Jesus could in one moment confront the false spirituality of the Pharisees at the same time he invited the prostitute into his kingdom.

So much that travels as love in the body of Christ today is simply trying to be nice even at the expense of dishonesty. We'll smile and feign love in someone's presence and take the freedom to tear them down in a conversation with someone else. God's love doesn't live in denial. It can take situations as they really are and transform them by his glory. (emphasis mine)

The amazing thing is when Jesus deals with betrayal he does not hold back his love. He confronts the betrayal but it is done purely out of a heart of love. He holds back nothing yet still deals with the issue.
God’s love does not live in denial. But God still loves. And God still moves and acts.


Mary said...

This is terrific! I'd never made the connection before - Jesus was kind, not nice. This is changing a lot for me - my head is almost hurting from all of the change.

Barb said...

I know what you mean. My head is sometimes not big enough to wrap around what all this really means. It is so new to think this way.