I can still hear it ringing out in my mother’s voice, “Be nice to your brother!”. I have probably said it a couple of thousands of time myself. I remember the exhaustion and frustration of saying it one more time to one of my boys riding in the back seat, or at the grocery store, or on vacation, etc. I would try to imagine the peace that would ensue if they just got along when I wanted them to do so.
Of course, they didn’t always aggravate one another and thankfully they outgrew most of the petty things that would set each other off. Kids do that, don’t they? They outgrow things. They get older and more mature and for the most part stop acting like children.
That then begs the question: If kids can outgrow it with siblings, why can’t we outgrow it in the rest of our world? Sometimes as I listen to a news report about people fighting over an issue or read an article that is slanted one way or the other with malice, I want to scream out “Be nice to each other!”.
Look, we are going to disagree on many things in this world. Politics, sports, religion, worship styles, Jordan or Lebron, are just a few of the biggies. There is no one who expects us all to have the same opinion on everything, including God. However, why do different opinions make us feel that we have the right to be unkind or rude or even mean to another human being? I know this may sound elementary, but let’s get real, it truly is elementary.
I want to say this in the nicest way possible. Be nice! I am firmly convinced that most topics and debates would go a lot further toward reconciliation if we were simply civil in the way we go about it. Be nice to your family, coworkers, fellow church members, opposing little league coach, dance instructor, and even your enemies. I think Jesus mentions that one specifically. I believe we may find something deeper than our individual causes if we do. The most persuasive moment in any relationship is when you offer the other respect. Be nice!