One of my favorite comedians is Jeff Foxworthy. His “You might be a redneck if…” jokes hit close to home because I grew up in Kentucky (home of many proud rednecks). We can all laugh at stuff like, “If you walk your kid to elementary school because you’re in the same grade, if you family tree doesn’t have any branches, if you’ve ever stared at a can of orange juice because it said ‘concentrate’, you might be a redneck!”
On a more serious level, I think we need to have a litmus test of knowing when “you might not be a nice person if…”. Since I firmly believe that kindness isn’t a personality trait; it’s a choice we must all make daily regardless of our mood or our circumstance. Kindness validates the intrinsic and eternal value of every human being and it’s also a consistent command in the Bible with passages like, “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
I’ve noticed that most of us have BLIND SPOTS to our own rudeness and selfishness. In other words, most people who aren’t very nice don’t realize that they’re not very nice. This post isn’t intended to cast judgment, but rather as a simple wakeup call for all of us to be more intentional about our words and our actions.
Let’s all strive to be nice people. The world has plenty of jerks already.
You might not (currently) be a very nice person if…
1. You’re nice to the people around your table while you’re eating at a restaurant but you’re rude or demanding to the server.
If you’re nice to your friends or co-workers while you’re eating, but you’re not nice to the server, then you’re not a nice person. Kindness is in its purest form when we give it to those who aren’t in a position to repay us. When you’re nice to your co-workers, it’s just “networking,” but when you’re nice to to those who are serving you, it’s real kindness.
2. You ask people, “how are you doing?” but then never wait to hear their response.
I’ve been guilty of this one much more than I’d like to admit. In our society’s definition of politeness, we can get by with asking ‘how are you doing?’ with having to care much about the person’s response, but genuine kindness and compassion compels us to care and to listen.
3. You cut people off in traffic, but rarely let people in front of you in traffic.
This one doesn’t need much explanation if you do this, you’re not a nice driver. If you do this and also never use a turning signal, you probably need to just stop driving altogether.
4. You have a full-blown, toddler-style meltdown when the internet stops working.
I think I’ve actually done this one a time or two. How we act when the internet stops working says a lot about our character, doesn’t it?
There are obviously much worse things in life than the four on this list, and this post isn’t actually intended to divide up society into “nice people” and “jerks,” because ALL of us have moments where we’re not showing kindness. Let’s resolve to being more intentional about the words we say and our daily actions. Let’s bring more kindness into our workplaces, our homes and the world around us. The simple little things can make a big difference!
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