How many times have I heard it said that someone is a ‘really nice bloke’, as if all is well. Yet, it eventually becomes apparent that something is missing in their moral character. They may well be a nice bloke, but what about all the things they’re not doing that a good person would do?
It seems to me that being ‘nice’ is an escape. It’s a way of avoiding having to deal with the tougher aspects of life, and of relationships. It’s easier to be nice than it is to be truthful, or just. And while being nice might feel good in the moment, it ultimately leads to superficial relationships and a lack of real connection.
If, in an organisation, or even among a group of friends, there is an unspoken culture that elevates being nice to the top priority, then what happens to truth and justice? They become secondary, at best.
I have heard it said, from a senior churchman, that the biggest problem of his church denomination is its culture of being nice. It’s a surface level niceness that allows all sorts of things to go on underneath, because no one wants to rock the boat.
It’s time to stop being nice, and start being good. It’s time to start valuing truth and justice above superficiality. Otherwise, we will continue to create a world that is far from kind.
So, next time you’re tempted to simply be nice, ask yourself whether it’s really the best thing to do. Maybe it’s time to start being honest instead.