I found myself attracted to this book by the title. It was over 20 years ago that I declared to a class of 35 college students, “I don’t have to be nice.” I had just given an assignment - one that I had used before, but this class thought it was burdensome. They asked me to “be nice.” In response, I reminded them that the college catalog, the student handbook, and the faculty handbook, all neglected to mention the presence of nice faculty on campus. They were ready for that when they reminded me, “But Mr. Johnson, you’re a Christian.” I wasn’t quite ready for that, but with just the right delay, I let them understand that the Bible says nothing about being nice. The assignment stood with no changes.
It was two weeks later, while reading a textbook for a counseling class I was enrolled in that I found the following words, “Nice people tend to be mentally ill.” I determined then and there, “I don’t have to be nice.” It would require too much change on my part, why should I change.
We moved a few years later and I became brave enough to say it out loud in church, “You don’t have to be nice.” The pastor’s wife was ready, “But the Bible does say you have to be kind.” Again, I was unprepared, but with just the right delay, I replied, “Yep - that’s right. Being ‘kind’ is what God wants; being ‘nice’ is what you want. Sometimes they are the same thing; sometimes they are not.”
Nope, I don’t have to be nice!
And because of that, I was attracted to this book.
Sadly, however, I was disappointed. I found the writing style disjointed and I found the points that the writer made difficult to follow. The author’s use of scripture was appreciated, but the quoted passages did not always seem to support her points. The titles of many of the chapters would make a nice poster -
- Christians Must Learn to Live Among Weeds
- Nice People Rob God When They Don’t Transform
- I Am An Effective Christian Because of God
However, the discussion that follows each title seems to ramble and does not always contribute to the theme suggested by the chapter title. Though I agree with the title of the book and the various chapter titles, I have difficult time recommending this book as a tool to understand the meaning of those titles.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.