Most of us live our days striving to be nice. We think we can just be all smiles and exude love by being nice to those who do evil. It’s a niceness that doesn’t appear in scripture, and provides only a self-serving sense of cowardly righteousness.

In scripture we don’t find this modern version of “nice” that so many church leaders and secularists push Christians to embrace. We find love. We find generosity. We find kindness. We find sincerity. We find patience.

But this gooey, saccharine-sweet niceness is nowhere to be found.

On nearly every page of the Gospels you find Jesus dining with culture’s untouchables, healing the infirm, instructing the weak – but He isn’t “nice” – he is firm, honest, truthful, patient. He lovingly tells them the truth about their sin. He tells them to “go and sin no more.”

But with the ruling elite of the day? With the rulers who profit from self-dealing and cronyism? He calls them “serpents” and a “brood of vipers.” He says they are “whitewashed tombs.” He calls them murderers. These words weren’t directed at the occupying Romans, or the atheists, or adherents to other religions; they were pointed at His fellow Jews.

Nothing about that was “nice.” It was true. It was honest. And it was a kindness to those who were being oppressed.

No doubt many wanted Jesus to just be nice. You can hear them demand, “More of the ‘water into wine’ and ‘free bread and fish,’ Jesus, and less of the viper-talk.”

It is no different today. I can only speak to the experience of Republicans, but those who yell the loudest for citizens to be “nice” to politicians are the ones profiting off selling out the values and principles for which the GOP reportedly stands.

We can be nice serfs, or we can be driven citizen-leaders. We can smile pleasantly as our Republic is run into ruin, or we can fight for the inheritance of self-governance meant for ourselves and our posterity.

Rather than be “nice,” let us first and always strive to be passionate citizens faithfully committed to the cause of liberty.