Many times as Christian parents we can believe that being nice, acting nice or playing nice is how we love others and reveal Jesus to those around us, but the word “nice” is not mentioned once in the Bible.
Not one single time.
While we may tell our kiddos to act nice in order to correct a problem behavior, more likely we are telling them to not make waves, not hurt someone’s feelings, and to keep their mouths shut.
My daughters have experienced the usual ups and downs in their relationships with friends. With 4 daughters we do A LOT of girl drama. The ups are warm and wonderful and the downs are always hard and messy and usually involve someone saying something hurtful or someone feeling left out.
When my girls come to me with these problems, it’s always tempting to say things like, “Let it go,” “Make it work,” “Apologize and forgive” just to keep the status quo and to ensure that others will like them. Somedays when I am tired I just want them to pretend that nothing is wrong and be nice. Ugly, I know.
This passive side of me wants them to be peacekeepers, temporarily avoiding conflict, especially when we know the families involved. You know what I mean?
But Jesus calls us to something bigger and better. He calls parents and children to be peacemakers.
Peacemakers aren’t nice but they are kind. When a peacemaker experiences a problem, they go to work to correct, reconcile, and restore true peace in relationships. A peacemaker is courageous enough to voice their feelings in love and respect and invite the other party to do the same. A peacemaker must be willing to enter into potential conflict by allowing tensions to be voiced to get to the underlying issues of the heart because only then is true peace and reconciliation even possible.
As parents we need to make sure that we are encouraging our children to love others as peacemakers rather than peacekeepers.
We need to encourage them to be brave enough to risk speaking the truth in love so that they can bring the peace of God into their relationships and our world. Jesus, the ultimate peacemaker between God and man, is known as the Prince of Peace, but he was killed for not playing nice.
Don’t ever settle for nice, when you can make peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
How do you help your kids distinguish between being kind or being nice?
By Dale Skram
Mom of four
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach