A regular reader of this little blog will know that a few years ago I hit a bit of a rough patch. Let me be clear, technically I was fine. Physically I felt fine. Nothing was wrong to the visible eye. My faith, though, was shaken; my future path uncertain. When faith becomes so intertwined with one’s identity it becomes noticeable when that core loses its footing. I couldn’t help it when my feelings and mood seeped into my blog posts. So much so, I had faithful readers ask me about my well-being. My foundation became shaky as I had to make a decision to stand or find a new foundation. Let’s just say, things were up in the air a bit. While I am still struggling a little I have continued on and tried to rebuild my foundation a bit more secure than before. It is a process. But that’s just a little background for the main point of this blog and that is this: you never know what struggle someone is fighting inside so be nice to people. Seriously.
While I struggled inside on the outside I continued my normal routine. I attended church even though I didn’t want to. Outwardly, I continued to do what I had always done. The only manifestation I showed was when I deleted my friends from Facebook. Half of them – 100 – in one day. The reason, I explained, was I wanted to spend less time on Facebook. Which is true, I did. But most of the people that I unfriended were fellow church members. Looking back, I realize I was cutting off communication with church members or to borrow a church term, I was sort of excommunicating myself in a way. I didn’t want to be around these people who reminded me of the path I was no longer certain I wanted to be on. So, I quietly started separating myself from them.
Except I still went to church, so I was fine, right?
Faith wise, not at all. I questioned everything I knew. It would have been so easy to slip away. Then maybe someone would have noticed and maybe I would have ended up on some list. It wouldn’t be the first time.
When I would get an occasional, “How are you doing?” I’d size the person up and realize I didn’t know this person well enough to answer anything but “fine. And you?”
I learned from this little episode of mine. I learned to be nice. Just be nice. What does nice look like? It looks like respect. It looks like honor. It looks like dignity. It does not look like mocking, belittling, gossiping, or fake politeness. You don’t have to be everyone’s friend but you can be friendly. Notice the people who aren’t there and check on them. Notice the people who are there and smile and be warm. Be sincere and genuine in your actions. Be an encourager or edifier or cheerleader. You never know what kind of hurt someone may be nursing on the inside.