In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “Everybody’d be nice to you if they knew you were dying.” (Bruce – Robert DeNiro – in Bang the Drum Slowly)
The ironic reality is that everyone will be dying, we just don’t know when. Maybe we should all be nice to one another, since all of us will die someday, somehow; we just don’t know when or how.
We often hear people saying, “I wish I had the chance to tell him/her that I loved him/her before they died.” The sad fact is that you did and in some cases still do have that chance to tell them, but you did not (or do not) take it. Perhaps if we start each day with a mental to-do list that includes being nice to all that we meet and telling our loved ones how much they mean to us, we will not end the day with regrets.
I often see T-shirts with the message “Be Nice” on them. I don’t recall seeing any with the message “Be Mean”. Maybe, if you can imagine that everyone that you encounter during the day is wearing a Be Nice T-shirt, that will help you be nice to them, too.
The real opposite of being nice is not really being mean, it is being indifferent. When we encounter a stranger, maybe even one who is obviously in need or distress, we all too often indifferent to them. We do not take the opportunity to inquire about them for fear that they will ask something of us. We feel that we are much too busy with issues or priorities in our own lives to take time to listen to their concerns or needs. We’re not being mean; we are just being (or trying to be) indifferent.
Every Sunday morning at church we start the service with a confession of our sins and we use the phrase, “things that we have done and things lefty undone” to define those sins. I often reflect on those opportunities that I left undone during the week out of indifference to someone else. What comes to your mind?
So, put on your mental “Be Nice” T-shit every day and guard against indifference. Have in mind that everybody that you meet that day is dying someday – maybe today.
So, go ahead and be nice to them while you can.