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We were raised to be “nice” and we raise our children to be the same. But what if we are wrong in thinking we are to be nice?

In her latest book, Nice: Why We Love To Be Liked And How God Calls Us To More, Sharon Hodde Miller, introduces this premise:

God did not call you to be nice.” (page 11)

She addresses the truth, God’s truth, that we are called to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and “nice” is not among the list of those fruit.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

Surprisingly, “nice” is not there. So what is wrong with “nice”?

  • “Niceness is a false virtue, and in the church it is a false idol.”
  • Niceness is “a trivial virtue that is easy to fake.”
  • “We are nice because it is to our benefit to be.”
  • “Niceness has the appearance of serving others but it exists primarily to serve ourselves, and that is why niceness is a false virtue.”

Niceness has a way of permeating our personalities so that we seem to be authentic. It is a deceptive virtue that leads way to other bad and deceptive virtues.

This book stresses the truth of how God calls us to kindness, this is the genuine fruit He desires to grow in our lives. We need discernment to distinguish between niceness and kindness:

“One way to distinguish them is knowing who they aim to please. One is motivated by people-pleasing, the other by faithfulness to God.” (page 40)

And then there is this to consider:

“Kindness calls us to be honest in a way that is loving, even if it isn’t always nice.” (page 41)

This book is convicting and challenging, in the very best of ways. It’s not an easy read because it will cause you to reflect, to look deep within your heart, and to begin to uproot the bad fruit which may lie hidden.

Each chapter brings a verse to memorize in “Taking Root”. There are also four questions to guide the reader in “Digging Deeper”. These questions are designed for reflection and application.

The author stirs us to pursue Christ more deeply and be conformed to Him. She calls us to true Christianity:

[The book] is about “being who we say we are and who God called us to be. If that is our aim, then we need to name the bad fruit, cut down the tree, pull out the roots, and adopt the habits that will actually bear the fruit of Christ through the power of his Spirit.” (page 201)

Having read her first book, Free Of Me, this book did not disappoint and was written with the same thought provoking transparency.


** I was provided a copy of this book by Baker Publishing Group.  All opinions are honest and my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small percent at no additional cost to you.

Today I am joining … Destination Inspiration and Heart Encouragement and Booknificent Thursday .