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I’m Not Ready To Make Nice!

“I’m not ready to make nice, I’m not ready to back down” – Dixie Chicks

I was in a store somewhere this weekend and heard the latest offering from the Dixie Chicks on the in-store Musak. I’m not sure why, but I can’t get it out of my head. I even downloaded it from iTunes today.

I think I am intrigued by the lyric above because I have been placing in the context of “what would Jesus do”? When conflict arose, what did our Rabbi and teacher do? What are we called to do when conflict meets us at home, at work, with friends and people we don’t even know? Should we “make nice” or be honest and say “you know what…I’m gonna be honest and say I’m not ready to make nice”. It reminded me of a question John Eldredge asked in the “Wild at Heart” series:

“Was Jesus more like Mother Theresa or William Wallace”?

If you’re wondering, Eldredge said that it depended who you were. If you were “the least of these”, he had the compassion of Mother Theresa. But if you were his enemy…”look out”. Interesting when you place it in the context of the Corporate Ladder. As Christians in business, are we called to “make nice” even though our position, or the situation calls us to be bold, strong and honest? Particularly in positions of leadership and influence.

What about with friendships? Are we called to say “you know what, this isn’t right and I’m not ready to make nice about it. I need some time”. I wonder if the honesty is more important then “smoothing things over” just to revisit again at a later date. Don’t get me wrong, This isn’t directed at anyone or anything in particular. It’s just the way I’m wired I guess. Questions like this intrigue me.

I don’t have the answers. I guess I’m posing the question to the blogging community. Are Christians called to always “make nice”? In my mind, this is a LOADED question.

Your thoughts?



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Comments · 12

  • mudpuppy · March 28, 2007

    Since we’re being honest (:)) I have been dealing with these same questions. I believe we’re required to display God’s love to everyone. I’m not sure we’re required to actually like everyone.

    And what do you do when someone wears on you or hurts you. How are you supposed to act around them? Do you fake it and pretend like nothing is wrong? Do you tell them where they stand and why? Do you avoid them at all cost?

    I’m not going to be outwardly hateful towards someone, but I don’t think I’m required to high five them every time I see them either.

    It’s very tough.

  • Clay Burkle · March 28, 2007

    I’m digging the questions… maybe the Rob Bell is rubbing off (he’s a good question asker). One of the things from Eldridge that has stuck with me is his comment to “bring the weight of who you are to every situation” (that is a loose Burkle paraphrase).

    I’m a “compromiser” to the core… even if I end up taking one for the team…. so this Eldridge thought has challenged me to take off my “Mr. Nice Guy” mask and let my full weight be known.

    I think one of the most off-putting thing about Christians, is that we can be a bunch of Ned Flanders. Howdy doodly neighbor.

  • Aaron · March 28, 2007

    Mudpuppy – great questions. Especially for someone like myself that seems to always want everyone to be okay. I can think of one situation where I finally had to say “I’m done”. These particular relationships were clearly not healthy. One day maybe we can “make nice”, but right now…I’m not ready to.

    Clay – Agreed on Rob Bell. Although I haven’t even cracked the spine on “Sex God” yet. It’s on my desk so it’s that much closer to me starting to read it :) Probably need to not put that in the sidebar until I am actually reading it. I figure I’ll knock out most of it on my next world tour. ANYWAY…my bent is the same. Ned Flanders to the core brother. While the “me” in me wants to always be right, in most situations, I’ll “make nice”.

  • Tom · March 28, 2007

    The older I get, and the more I read the words of Jesus, the harder it is for me to truly determine what He would do in any particular situation. Obviously, as you said, He acted with great compassion toward the “have-nots” of his society… those who were alienated from religious society. The only people He really ever got pissed at were the religious. But even in His actions, Scripture only gives us little snapshots.

    For instance, before He cleared the temple, the Bible says he fashioned a whip. That must taken some time. He did not just fly off the handle. He braided a whip, for Pete’s sake! I would have loved to be there as He was making that thing. Or right after clearing the temple, I’d love to ask Him, “Do you feel better now?”

    Or, the slightly more disturbing “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt 10:34). Uh, okay, but what about all our t-shirts and bumper stickers that say You’re the Prince of Peace? He said this as part of taking up your cross and losing your life to find it and turning a man against his father and a daughter against her mother – like that’s never happened.

    It all makes me feel better about what I want to do to that driver who cuts to the front of a line of cars merging into a construction zone!
    I want to start fashioning a whip!

    Thanks for 15 minutes of digressing!

  • Aaron · March 28, 2007

    Tom – Excellent point. I love the reference to “fashioning a whip”. I checked it out and sure enough…right there in John 2:15 it states that he “made a whip out of cords (NIV). Wow. I think I have read that story a dozen times at least and missed that part every time. Entire sermons could be dedicated to those simple words. To your point, he took some time before cleaning house. There is much to learn there. Thanks for visiting and the insight. Great stuff.

  • Holly · March 28, 2007

    I think it’s all in how each situation is approached, as christians we are to love but that doesn’t mean just allow anyone to do anything they want to you. I think you can have the love of Christ for someone and still be able to say to them I love you but this is how I feel and maybe time and prayer will change the situation. I don’t think God wants a bunch of roll over christians, we are to bathe our day in prayer and ask God to help us do the rest.

  • Debbie · March 28, 2007

    Thanks for commenting on my blog :) I love reading about your thoughts and questions…very inspiring!

    Anyway, this is an interesting issue that really affected me this past Christmas. I said something, and my sister took it completely the wrong way. The first thing I did was apologize and tell her that I didn’t mean it the way she took it, but her response was “I hear your apology, but I can’t forgive you right now, I’m too hurt.” Personally, I don’t feel like that’s what Jesus would do. When someone genuinely asks you for forgiveness, I believe that you are to forgive them.

    However, when it comes to forgiveness on your own (not someone asking for it) I’m not sure. God can give us the power to let things go, we just need to ask him. So if there are areas that we’re not ready to make right, a couple words with God and we just might be!

  • divinescribble · March 28, 2007

    I love this question and have pondered myself the idea of “make nice.” My blog lately focuses on forgiveness and grace, particularly yesterday’s post.

    I think it boils down to love. Reacting from love in each situation rather than instinct. I don’t like to “make nice”, in fact, I love to hold grudges. But, making nice doesn’t mean rolling over and letting someone walk all over you. Nor does forgiveness mean setting yourself up for another hurt simply by not confronting an issue. It is important to work through any situation in which something has been hurtful or not so nice.

    My post yesterday refers to the Amish in our community following the school shooting and my personal connection to that. Although they forgive and move forward, they are not setting themselves in a position to have something happen to their children again the way it did before. Their new school building is made of brick this time instead of the traditional wood frame. One of them said something about not allowing the wolf to blow it over!

    Great questions.

  • Aaron · March 28, 2007

    Debbie – Thanks as well. I have added you to the blogroll! You bring up a valuable example of when we are really called to “make nice”. If we have offended someone, knowingly or otherwise, and they seek our forgiveness, then I think we are called to do so. Especially in light of the grace we have been afforded. Forgiveness on our own is even tougher because even something as simple as a misunderstanding can lead to hurt and bitterness. The other party may never even give us the opportunity to make it right. In that case (experience speaking here), all we can do is ask God for forgiveness and pray that the other parties heart may one day be softened to hear what we have to say. Until then, we’ve done what we can to make nice. Thanks for the feedback.

    Divine – I will check out your blog posts. Grace, love and forgiveness are so essential to living the christian life. It complicates things when we are addressing a situation with a non-believer, so someone that has turned their back on faith. What we are offering to do (forgive), sometimes represents much more then the issue at hand. It might even represent a faith that they don’t believe in or one which they have turned from. Then it really gets complicated. Ugh…even MORE questions :)

    Thank you both for your insight and feedback.

  • Joni Ruhs · March 28, 2007

    Forgiveness comes before healing. When I am wronged, if I wait to feel like it, I am the one injured, not the offender. I must forgive and release it to God’s care. If we don’t forgive, Aaron is right, it turns into bitterness which creates an even larger stumbling block to healing. We can’t move on until we’ve let go. Easy to say I know but its the only way I can move on from the offenses I have held on to–especially from the offenders who will never ask for my forgiveness.

    I wonder how long it would have taken Jesus to feel like being crucified? Granted he did take the time to seek God, pray and prepare mentally I suppose.

  • momlovesbeingathome · March 31, 2007

    Great post and comments! Very good thoughts and information here. I enjoyed reading it. :)

  • Talya · April 4, 2007

    I stumbled upon your blog today and I must say that it has been a blessing! Thank you all for allowing God to use your words to minister to others.

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