Now I'm using nice because that's a word that everyone can relate to; nice seems better than good. Nice implies that you go the extra mile. Nice is just nice.
On a recent road trip we were genuinely surprised by the niceness of those we came in contact with. I don't know about you, but for us, whenever we take a road trip we hope and pray nothing goes wrong and do a general checkup on our cars to make sure everything is fine. The trip was about 5-6 hours, so a general checkup seemed to be all that was necessary. We started on our trip and everything was going fine until we had to conquer this huge hill on the I5 (elevation 2000 ft), and that was when our car gave out. She just died right there in the middle lane. We were able to navigate off the road and call AAA. It so happens this particular stretch of road claims a lot of cars, so when we pulled over we were right behind a sheriff assisting another car.
So far nothing nice and all the makings for a disastrous trip.
AAA eventually came after an hour. The car was towed and we all had to ride in the tow truck or the van. The driver of the tow truck was very pleasant. He told us how he drives up and down that hill all day and he's not afraid. We drove up the hill then down the hill and exited at the nearest town with a mechanic. By this time it's about 5:30 pm - the time when people are looking to end their day. The mechanics did not rush us - as a matter of fact they took the time to inspect, diagnose and provide solutions. The transmission was gone. So now we are officially without a car. The mechanics also made calls to car rentals and found one that would rent a car to us. The mechanics then drove us over to the car rental location.
For whatever reason, I was never flustered during this process (but my husband was). We ran in to a little snafu while trying to rent the car, but ultimately we were able to rent the car. Four hours later, we were on our way.
As we were driving, I wondered why I was so genuinely surprised by the niceness of the mechanics and the tow truck driver. The answer struck me - it's because we're not used to people being nice to us for no reason at all. We always think there's an ulterior motive, or that we're being scammed. This world is tough, but this made me realize that I need to constantly work on being nice, just because. As Christians, we are encouraged to be nice - it's a way of reaching others and letting our light shine.
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:1-4 (NLT)
Are you genuinely nice? Do you expect something in return for being nice? Does being unappreciated stop you from being nice?