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. The often start the conversation with very sweet tones of voice and deceptive smile as they say the phrase, “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 the “I am praying for you” phrase 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 devotional is from the book “Heavenly Mundane” by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Dr. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: