I was in line at the local Target waiting to check out. It was one of those days where you volley for the shortest and fastest line because it seems everyone in whole store had finished their shopping the same time as me. The lines were long and the choice to jump to another line was not a gamble worth taking. With nothing much to do but check email or social media on our phones, we were all waiting our turn. Yet, something happened in my line that caught the attention of a few lines worth of people. It was the checkout clerk. She was bright-eyed with a big smile on her face greeting each customer with kindness, courtesy, and thoughtfulness, like they were her favorite. It was not forced or feigned; her interactions and joy seemed authentic.
This clerk’s authentic nicety was just about to be put the test, for her next customer was Mr. Mean! He had been a grump all through his wait and it was mounting. He first started with a bit of grumbling under his breath with great sighs, and a few “can’t you hurry this up!” He starting criticizing the people in front of him for buying so much. Once it was his turn, he had had it! The clerk greeted him with her usually kindhearted words. He snapped back with asking her to quit the chit-chat and get on where her job. She smiled back and complimented him on the good bargains he found. He fired back with complaints, critiques, and a few demeaning remarks at her cheery attitude. At that a few in line behind him said, hey, knock it off she’s only trying to be nice. He glared back at us, grabbed his bag, that the clerk was holding as she, again gave that big warm smile.
Each next customer made comments to her about that guy and thanked her for her kindness. As I approached I too thanked her, but asked how come she did not lash back or at least stop being so nice. She simply said, “I am choosing to be nice.” She went on to say, “That’s my choice and regardless of how people act, I can still choose to be nice.”
Being nice is a choice. Regardless of the circumstances we still have the power to be kind, curious, affirming, and pleasant. The Bible challenges us that same choice.
Romans 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
The word hospitality means to be kind to strangers, to make the choice to be nice to others. This is a nice choice.
This nice choice means we think about others.
Philippians 2:3-4 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
It also means we are careful with our words.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Finally, a nice choice also includes forgiveness.
Ephesians 4:31-32 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
In thinking of this I am reminded of one Jesus’ surprising actions during Easter week. As He and disciples were celebrating Passover and Jesus does something amazing, He takes the posture of a servant and washes the disciple’s feet (John 13:1-38). That was a job for the lowest servant, yet Jesus humbles Himself and serves His followers. Now that alone is a nice choice, but was is even more amazing to me is Jesus washes Judas’ feet, the one who betrayed Him. Jesus knew Judas’ heart and what Judas had done (Matthew 26:14-16). Yet here is Jesus, LORD and Savior, washing the feet of His betrayer. Wow. That is a kindness and love we all should emulate.
So let’s be like Jesus and make the nice choice of being kind, even when others are not so kind to us. Church is a great place to learn of Jesus, especially around Easter week. If you are not already attending a church, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or one of our branch churches in either Los Alamitos or Garden Grove this Easter week. Our website has all the information you would need. www.cypresschurch.net .
Seeking to make nice choices along with you,