A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world – and might even be more difficult to save. – C.S. Lewis
We live in a world of nice. Nice people, nice houses, nice cars, nice vacations. We tell our children to be nice to other children. We tell our teens to be nice to the relatives. Books on marriage give advice on being nice to one’s spouse. And don’t forget to be nice to your boss.
What does nice mean? For most people it’s pleasant behavior, an agreeable personality, caring and…well…being nice.
Do nice people need to be saved? Most people would say no. They’re nice and nice people go to heaven, don’t they? Isn’t that what the golden rule is about? The Good Samaritan. Now he was nice. How about Jesus who refused to condemn the woman caught in adultery? Wasn’t that nice?
Nice is not a fruit of the Spirit. Nor is it a beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount. God never said, “Be nice as I am nice.” Christ didn’t die on the cross to make people nice.
Nice is cultural. It is meant to help us get along with one another. Nice gives you friends, it even might get you a job, or a girlfriend. But nice will never score any points with God and it will not be your ticket to heaven.
The nice people of the world need to know that they are sinners in need of the saving work of Christ. They need to trade in their niceness for a new life. What they need is holiness and a changed heart. Then and only then will they understand their niceness was filthy rags in the sight of God.