It's Hard To Be Nice

Updated: Mar 11, 2020

I was in the kitchen when I heard a thundering of footsteps coming down the hall. My devastated four-year-old runs into the kitchen, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Mommy!” She gasped. “Jonah made me sad! He yelled at me!” Such turmoil had never been seen, I tried my best not to laugh. Oh, for this to be my biggest problem in life.

I called for Jonah (my three-year-old) to come talk to us. Jonah is an endearing child. He doesn’t walk, he struts. And he either doesn’t have a care in the world or is deeply invested in something. He is charming and cute; I can only imagine the ruckus he will get into as he ages. Jonah strolls into the kitchen, hands buried in his pockets, chin held high. “What, mom?” I asked why he yelled at his sister. He looked me dead in the eye and said simply, “Cause. Sometimes it’s hard to be nice.”

Stunned, I stood there looking at him. This small bodied, green eyed, beautiful son of mine just declared a truth I try to run and hide from. I try to stash it in a corner away from prying eyes, away from the Lord. I put on a smile, pack up my niceness, and head out the door. But, the truth? The truth is, Jonah is right! Being nice is not always easy. My fruit aren’t always pretty. Ugly words, thoughts, and actions manifest way more than I care to admit.

Jesus tells us, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, NIV). Good works won’t get us into heaven, but our time on Earth should be used to glorify God. So yes, we should let our lights shine and give God all the credit. I think most who are born again don’t have a big issue with this. We’re good at giving God glory for the good things we do. But can we take it a step further? Can we also give God glory in our struggles? Can we start saying, “I’m having a tough time with this, I don’t feel happy. I know God is faithful and good, even when I don’t feel good.”

What if we stop putting on our “church faces” and get real about our battles? I think the result would be a more realistic view of Christianity. Because we don’t have it all together. We can’t. We’re flawed. But God. God sees us through.

I still don’t know what caused the epic battle of January 2020 in the Kids Room. I don’t know why Jonah yelled, but I am thankful for his innocent reminder.

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