Dec 28, 2011

Posted by in Featured Articles, Johnny, Spiritual Reflection | 5 Comments

No More Mr. Nice Guy!

No More Mr. Nice Guy!

 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “That’s it! No more Mr. Nice Guy”. This is usually said in a movie where the nice guy, you know, meek and sick of being the one who’s always down on his luck and can’t get the girl puts his foot down and makes a drastic change for the better. He goes out and buys a black leather jacket, slicks back his hair and starts making demands with a devil-may-care attitude. I often wonder why this narrative exists in Hollywood movies and I thinks it has influenced the way society views men: either you’re a too-nice-guy that gets run over by everyone or you’re a jerk that uses people for your own selfish reasons. I think a man’s nature is definitely more complicated than that but I’m going to talk just a little bit about “nice guys” and the mistaken persona everyone has as Jesus as the ultimate “nice guy”.

“Well, what’s a nice guy?” You may ask. I’ll define it as a man, who, in an effort to please others, succumbs to outside influences whether cultural or otherwise over his own personal convictions or perhaps, because he has no inner convictions. You know this guy; he’s the guy who’ll agree with your opinion because he’s afraid of being disliked or offending someone. He’s the guy that has a hard time saying “no”. I’m gonna stop right here and make an admission. Sometimes, I’m a nice guy and it hasn’t always done me or others a whole lot of good. There have been many situations where I should have spoken up or taken action in order to do what’s right. But because I was afraid of not pleasing EVERYONE I just clammed up into a shell and didn’t say anything at all. It irritates me to a high degree when I think back to these experiences. Men, what are your experiences with being a “nice guy”? I’m sure you can think of a few.

I often find that people place Jesus into the “nice guy” category whether out of false assumption or because they just don’t have the Bible knowledge about Him (or don’t want that knowledge -they think it’s cheesy or something or the other). I can sort of imagine the picture they have of Him being this weak-kneed fellow who was just golly-gee-happy about everything. “Hey guys! Whoooo wants a miracle today?” In fact, if you actually read the New Testament, you’d find that a large portion of Jesus’ ministry can be almost characterized by confrontation, usually initiated by people who wanted to trap Him in His own words. Imagine this scenario: you’re invited to dinner by a very important group of people, highly influential, important, and the leaders of their respective communities. Well, if that were me I’d make sure to dress up in a suit, remember my manners, watch what I said and be on my best behavior. You can probably guess that Jesus didn’t always do this.

In Luke 11:37, a Pharisee invited Jesus over for dinner. Just to give you some quick context, Pharisees were the religious leaders of their day and belonged to the group of important people I wrote about earlier. Taking their places at the table,  the Pharisee was a bit surprised that Jesus did not wash His hands before the meal, as was the custom. In response, the first thing Jesus says is “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness”. Geez, way to start off the conversation Jesus, you could have been a bit nicer. Instead, He says further “You fools! Didn’t the one who made the outside make the inside as well? But give from your heart to those in need, and then everything will be clean for you”. A bit better I suppose in that He told them how to remedy it….but still, who likes being called a fool? Later on, the Pharisee responds “Teacher, when you say these things you insult us too”. I think that’s how I would have responded, but I think I’d be so shocked that I wouldn’t know what to do.

What do we take away from this particular interaction? Obviously, that wasn’t “nice” Jesus and it’s shocking that He said  things in such a manner to the hosts who invited Him over to dinner. But it was the truth and maybe that was the only way the Pharisees would learn anything and change their hearts. Maybe, when we, having the truth need not back down when confronted with the forces in this world that aim to strip people of their faith. We don’t have to be afraid of confrontation when we have the truth. Maybe, just maybe, we should learn from this example, stop being Mr. Nice Guy and be Jesus with a black leather jacket.

 

  1. Yeah, funny how about 85% of people who call themselves Christians have been preached to death by some Americanized water down version of their faith. I was one of those people until I read the Bible and studied it myself . . . it definitly doesn’t say “Everyone just get along” . . . Jesus says I came to divide. When you truely become a Christian, you have to take a stand for what you believe in . . . unfortunately most of the time it goes against the grain of what a majority of people think. Just know that your treasures are not here in this life, but the next.

  2. I love this post! It’s so refreshing to hear Jesus described as he actually is rather than as a weak, accommodating, desperate to be liked shell of a Saviour. Unfortunately, I think that when we go our whole lives having Jesus presented to us in that way, we have no problem with being the same in how we live as Christians. We become complacent and walk on eggshells in the way in which we present biblical truths to those around us, if we ever even open our mouths to speak it at all. Many American Christians look at that approach and think, “well, that’s what Jesus would do.” because that’s the Jesus that has been taught to them. We all need to love the Lord enough to get to know him. That means we need to look to His Word to show us the truth of who He SAYS he is and who HE SAYS we are to be, instead of relying on others to inform us of these things. This post reminded me of one of my favorite Christian songs. It talks about how in our desire to be liked above all else, we choose to sugarcoat the gospel message and effectively rob it of it’s power in our own lives and in the lives of others. I believe American Christianity is the result of that. When we sugarcoat who Jesus is, we think we’re doing him a favor by making him more likable. The truth is, he didn’t come to be “liked”, he came to save! I recently was listening to a Pastor in Texas (Matt Chandler of The Village Church, Amazing!) he was speaking to the congregation about how he is often criticized for speaking so boldly about topics that most American Christians and pastors avoid like the plague. People tell him, “you can’t say that, people may leave”. In response, he told the congregation, “I don’t care if you leave, leave. I’m going to die one day and I need to speak the gospel message unfiltered and unaltered far more that I need to be liked.” (Paraphrased) God help me to not cave to the temptation to soften the gospel message so that the people around me will “like” me and “respect” me. Mike, if the link doesn’t work, Ed did it. If it does, I did 🙂

  3. OK, the link didn’t work (Ed):) Unfortunately, I think you will need to cut and paste to listen to the song. Here is the link…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4Y6X2MKTfs

  4. Totally agree with the idea that Christ was anything but a nice guy as defined here. In fact, I believe many of his sermons were delivered in such a way to drive people away. To sort of weed out those that weren’t truly committed to following or loving the Father. He never minced words when it came to those who “looked” the part. I think we have to ask ourselves who benefits from a “nice” gospel? Does that even exist? For example, if the Lord puts on my heart to point out my wife’s lack of computer skills, but instead I tell her she is quite competent to be nice. Who wins? God’s message isn’t delivered, my wife’s life isn’t re-directed and I end up getting the blame. Perfect – Right?

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