Make All the Good People Nice

Read: St. Matthew 5:13-16

“Adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior in all things.” Titus 2:10

A young mother was helping her five-year old daughter with her evening prayers. After concluding her formal prayers, the little girl paused for a moment, and then she added, “Dear God, make all the bad people good and all the good people nice.”

Exactly what she meant by this unusual prayer is not clear; but we do have a clue to the meaning of the second half of it. If only all the good people in the world were nice! If only all who profess the Christian faith, who attend church, who work on committees and commissions, who represent the church to the world were as pleasant and agreeable as Christ’s followers ought to be!

Occasionally those who profess to be doing the Lord’s work display a brusqueness, a lovelessness, even a meanness that ill becomes His disciples. Their very attitude belies their profession. In the language of the little girl, they are the “good people” who are not “nice.”

The Apostle Paul, in the quoted text, asks Christians to “adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior in all things.” Another translation of this passage reads: “Add luster to the doctrine of God our Savior.” We are to be pleasant, kind, gentle, always displaying the fruits of the doctrine we confess. Are we among the “good people” who are “Nice?” Let us pray to God that we are!

And having prayed, let’s strive for continued growth in those Christian graces which will be attractive to those with whom we have daily contact…both inside and outside the church. Let’s let our lives sparkle as they “adorn the doctrine of God,” drawing the attention and, with the Spirit’s help, winning the approval of our fellow human beings. To that end we can pray in the words of a poet:

Make me to walk in Thy commands, ‘Tis a delightful road,
Nor let my head or heart or hands Offend against my God.
Assist my soul, too apt to stray, A stricter watch to keep;
And should I e’er forget Thy way, Restore Thy wand’ring sheep.

 How has prayer helped you? How does your personal prayer time and communal prayer time in worship inform and feed you? Look for more stories of prayer in next week’s Monday Meditation.