As a Christian man, we are called to be kind, which is very different than being nice (as I use the word). Therefore, here are 5 differences between being a “nice guy” compared to being a kind man.
1. Being Nice Is When You Try to Please People Because You Fear Them. Being Kind Is When You Try to Help People Because You Love Them
A nice guy is a people pleaser. A kind man loves people.
On the surface, you often can’t immediately tell if someone is just a nice guy or a kind man. But over time, a nice guy will end up getting misused, overworked, and under appreciated because he will be a slave to manipulative people. His niceness flows from his fear of people’s opinion, thus he never balances out his niceness with the fierceness, correction, and discipline that loving men also need to give at times to other people.
A kind man, however, does kind things for people because he loves them, not because he fears them. Since he’s not afraid to do the right thing even when it offends people, this prevents him from indulging manipulative people.
As Paul said in Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
2. Being Nice Is When You Allow Other People to Disrespect You Because You Are Weak. Being Kind Is When You Allow People to Disrespect You Because You Are Strong
To worldly men, Jesus’ command to turn the other cheek seems (Matthew 5:38-42) like the epitome of weakness. However, when you understand what Jesus was truly saying, you know that to turn the other cheek is actually the epitome of strength.
A lost man will express his misguidedness through extreme passivity or through extreme aggression. He will either allow disrespect because he is afraid to fight back or he will fight back because he is trying to get revenge.
A kind man, however, turns the other cheek to personal offenses because he knows who he is and he will not let other people control his behavior. In extreme power and strength, he refuses to bend the knee to retaliation (1 Peter 3:9, Romans 12:19), showing his power through his ability not to be controlled by the offenses of others (1 Peter 2:23).
Additionally, a kind man knows the command to turn the other cheek is about personal offenses and not life changing assaults or attacks on other people. A kind man knows when he needs to do something other than turn the other cheek, as that is just one response for a certain type of situation.
For more on this, you can read my article called What Does the Bible Say About Turning the Other Cheek?
3. Being Nice Is When You Allow Someone to Mistreat You and You Only Ask Them to Stop. Being Kind Is When You Don’t Allow People to Mistreat You and You Make Them Stop
This point balances out the previous point about turning the other cheek. A kind man won’t always turn the other cheek to the same person who is attacking them with the same sin because it is unloving to allow someone to live in sin.
In other words, if you keep disrespecting me, eventually I need to rebuke you because it’s not good for you to endlessly disrespect me. In love, I need to do something to make you stop. If nothing else works, eventually I will need to excommunicate you from my life if you continue to live in sin towards me just as the church must cast people out who refuse to repent from ongoing sin (1 Corinthians 5:4-13, 2 Timothy 3:5, Romans 16:17-18, Proverbs 13:20, 2 Timothy 4:14-15)
Ultimately, a kind man is not just a man of words but of action. This also plays out when he corrects and disciplines others. After you ignore a kind man’s verbal warning, you will then receive a real consequence that negatively affects your life with the hope that this will help you correct your sinful behavior (1 Corinthians 4:18-21).
Church discipline, for example, can never be done by a nice guy. It takes extreme strength rooted in loving kindness to rebuke someone who’s going to throw a fit, drag your name through the mud, and try to convince other people that you are wrong and they are right.
But throughout Scripture, God calls us to correct and discipline others when they need it (1 Corinthians 5:12-13, Titus 1:13). Galatians 6:1 commands us to say and do the hard things but to do all this in gentleness, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”
4. Being Nice Is When You Allow People to Use You and You Spoil Them. Being Kind Is When You Provide for People and Teach Them How to Provide for Themselves
Another way you can see the difference between a nice guy and a kind man is the effect they end up having on the people they are leading.
A nice guy ends up creating immature followers who are spoiled because they have been trained to expect handouts from the leader (Proverbs 13:24). However, a kind man creates self-sufficient followers who know how to provide for themselves and others (Hebrews 12:6-11). As Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, which states:
“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”
5. Being Nice Is When You Think Other People Are More Important Than You Because You Don’t Know Your Worth. Being Kind Is When You Treat People as More Important Than Yourself Because You Are Practicing Biblical Humility
You can’t actually be humble if you just have a poor view of yourself. Biblical humility is when you choose to put someone above yourself. If you believe you are actually less valuable than another human being, you can’t choose to put them above yourself. To set aside your rights, you first have to know your rights. As C.S. Lewis put it, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
A kind man knows his value, knows his worth, and knows he’s God’s dearly loved son (Psalm 139). However, in love, he chooses to treat other people as though they are more important than himself. Like Christ, he uses his strength not to exalt himself, but to humble himself for the benefit of others and for the glory of God (Philippians 2:1-11).
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