Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why Be Nice?

A Loving Touch
“Love is always bestowed as a gift—freely, willingly, and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.”  --Leo F. Buscaglia

Why be nice? Why do you do the things you do?  This is something that has been on my mind for a while now, but a Facebook friend’s status caused me to revisit it.

How would you feel if you knew someone did nice things for you in order to get something back in return?   I know we usually do things for people to make them happy, to meet a need, to let them know they are loved and valued, and when they’re happy, we’re happy.  So, it’s true that we usually gain at least the benefit of happiness ourselves, even if being made happy is not our motivation.   But what if you knew that the person’s primary reason for doing nice things for you was to make themselves likable and happy and even to get something in return?  Would you feel loved... or would you feel used?

I think it’s somewhat natural for us to subconsciously hope for something in return, even if only for a response in kind expressing an acceptance of the thoughtfulness or friendship. But have you ever done something nice for someone in secret... anonymously, simply because you knew it was something they needed?   Usually, in those instances, because the person doesn’t know who to thank, they end up thanking God, and He gets the glory.  On the flip side, have you ever done things to make someone happy and then become hurt or even upset when they seemed to ignore you or take you for granted?   I confess that I have felt that before... even recently.  Why do we sometimes feel that way? The Bible reveals that we get upset when we don’t get what we want or expect.   (James 4:1-3)  Sometimes our expectations are realistic.   The greater the level of intimacy or connection in a relationship, the greater and more realistic the expectation.   Just be sure the feelings of connection and intimacy are mutual lest you become disappointed when your expectations are not met.  Sometimes our responses reveal that our expectations and motivations are more self-focused.   If we are truly doing something for someone else, then we should do so with an attitude of not expecting anything in return, else we are in essence doing it primarily for ourselves.

A good friend of mine has said that people, but especially children, want to know two basic things: 1) Who’s in charge? and 2) Am I loved?  We all want to be loved and valued.  John tells us that we love God, because He first loved us.  (1 John 4:19)  And Jesus said we are no different from others if we simply love those who love us.   So instead, we should be like God, our Father, and love and bless even those who hate us... and use us.   (Matthew 5:43-48)   So, why be nice even if it seems to get you no where?  Because it’s the right thing... the loving thing to do.


  1. My dear friend...
    I usually have words... but not now, other than these: You are, simply, amazing.