Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Nice Things Christians Say

Luke 11:42- 46 - 42 But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God. These things you should have done without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! You love the front seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! You are like unmarked graves; the people who walk over them don’t know it. 45 One of the experts in the law answered Him, Teacher, when You say these things You insult us too. 46 Then He said: Woe also to you experts in the law! You load people with burdens that are hard to carry, yet you yourselves don’t touch these burdens with one of your fingers.

We have all known Christians who used nice words to say mean things. I lived in the South for a few years and would often hear people say “Well, bless your heart.” At first, I thought people were speaking a blessing over whomever they were talking to. I eventually realized that phrase means “I think you are a complete idiot, but I am too nice to be honest with you.” Once I realized the real meaning of this phrase, it did not seem very nice at all.

Then there are those Christians who find a scripture, usually out of context, and use it as a weapon against people they disagree with. They often start the conversation with a very sweet tone of voice and deceptive smile as they say, “The Bible says,” and then offer their out-of-context verse. Though their charm and use of Bible verses can be disarming, just try disagreeing with them. Suddenly the charm disappears and they make us feel like we are going against God Himself.  The fact that they have often ignored the full teaching of scripture on whatever the subject is does not matter to them.

Then there are the Christians who say they are “praying for you.” But the context of the conversation, the tone of their voice, or their body language indicates that they are actually judging us and are not likely to be praying for us at all. Thankfully, many are genuinely praying and since most of us can use all the prayer we can get, we are encouraged when someone says they are praying for us. But when Christians use “I am praying for you” as a nice way to tell us they think we are bad people, it takes away whatever encouragement we might have gained from genuine prayer.

I am not suggesting that Christians should stop trying to be nice. Our world has become a pretty harsh and rude place. We need more niceness in our society, not less. I am simply observing that sometimes we Christians like to hide behind nice words to say mean things. Most people can see right through this as thinly disguised arrogance. They know it is not an example of true spirituality. More importantly, God sees through it because He knows our hearts. He will hold us accountable for using His Word, prayer and Christian phrases in mean ways to hurt others.

Lord, help our kindness towards others be genuine and from the heart. Keep us from using nice words as a screen for being mean to those around us. Amen.


This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:


  1. This reminds me of a piece I saw recently about starting off a sentence with "no offense but..." or "don't take this the wrong way but..." You just know that what follows phrases like those is likely to be nothing but something you are sure to be offended by or should totally take the wrong way !!