By Pastor Jim Melvin
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
I used to think that this Bible verse, Galatians 5:22-23, was kind of silly. It essentially says that there’s no law against being nice. Shocking. That’s technically true; but if you look around you, the way people behave often sends the message that being nice is for suckers. Being nice is a sign of weakness and naivete. If you are nice people are going to walk all over you.
That is certainly the message we receive if we watch the news coverage of our political leaders – and that’s 90% of what the news covers. Our representatives in Washington and in our state capital and the newscasters who interview them act as though they would be thrown in jail should a kind word pass their lips. The business world is litigious; we’d rather sue someone than shake their hand. Protestors would rather take to the streets to demand rather than to discuss. Children learn that it is a cold, cruel, competitive world our there. It doesn’t pay to be nice.
Evidently the same thing was true 2,000 years ago when the Apostle Paul wrote these words to an early Christian church in Galatia, an area in modern day Turkey. A lot of people in that congregation weren’t acting nice toward each other. Simply put, we don’t play nice a lot of the time either. Life can be difficult and competitive, so we must work hard at something as simple as being nice.
My point is that we CAN be nice and in the long run we will be rewarded for being nice and the world will be a better place. I would encourage us all to go over the list of qualities that Paul was talking about – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance – and think about how we can practice them in our families, at work, and in all of our relationships. Maybe pick out one of these qualities per day to practice. For example, today I’m going to be patient when people at work don’t live up to my expectations. Or, today I’m going to focus on showing my kids I love them.
Just try being nice. See how it feels. There’s no law against it. 0