Have you ever heard the phrase, “West Michigan Nice?” The idea behind this phrase is that here in West Michigan we have a culture in which people pleasing and avoiding conflict is a value. West Michigan Nice is a strange cultural loophole around issues where you can’t seem to get full honesty from your closest neighbor, your coworker, and sometimes even your family.

I was thinking today about the difference between being NICE and being KIND. Being nice is when one is polite and treats people well. Being kind is caring about people and expressing this care.

Most people find it easy to be nice. They plaster on a smile and treat people respectfully but being kind is a different matter. At the root of extreme niceness, however, are feelings of inadequacy and the need to get approval and validation from others. Kindness is more difficult. Kindness emerges from someone who’s confident, compassionate and comfortable with himself or herself. A kind person is loving and giving out of the goodness of their heart. Simply put, being nice benefits me, being kind benefits you.

One can be nice without being kind and kind without being nice.
The bible never instructs us to be nice; rather it calls us to be kind.

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I think we are able to be nice in our own strength, but kindness requires the strength of the Spirit. As a recovering people pleaser, I like to be seen as nice. However, I want to be known as a person of kindness.

Are you naturally a nice person? Would you call yourself a kind person? How might you increase your kindness quotient?