Nice-Nasty…Is Just Nasty

Nice-NastyIs Just Nasty

Rev. Sheri Smith Clayborn, Contributing Writer

Many people are on edge and words matter. Kindness, which leads to being nice to one another, is in crisis. The standard of intercommunication has been lessened in our government, communities, and even in the church.

A person in the church was describing to me a conversation they had with someone else. The person said that they were not mean but instead gave a “nice-nasty” response. I responded, “You do know that the foundation of nice-nasty is simply nasty?”

Nice-nasty is a phrase that I have heard used, even in the church. Nice-nasty occurs when someone acts in a way that on the surface can be perceived as nice; however, its root, motivation, and execution are nasty. It is a form of passive-aggressive behavior—taking what is unacceptable and putting “icing” on it. It is an excuse for being rude, uncaring, and pseudo-professional.

Some think they are being honorable by covering “nasty” with “nice.” Others do not want to be perceived as “not nice;” so, they choose to be nice-nasty—actually employing the nastiness of alternate facts or truth handled inappropriately.

We must be authentic. Sometimes nice-nasty is a cover up—hiding who we are or what we really want to say. Who are you? What do you want to say? If our authenticity is nasty covered up by nice, then we need to consider the consequences of our actions.

We must use intentionality or thoughtfulness in our use of words. In times like these, we must be intentional about what we say. Intentionality lessens the likelihood of our being deceived into thinking that what we are saying is really Christ-like. What will be the consequences of our speech?

Some are authentic and have taken thought of our words; yet, they are still nice nasty. If we are authentic and thoughtful but are still nasty, have we considered the role and function of the Spirit in our lives? What is authentically you with the fruit of the spirit developed in you? The fruit of the Spirit includes kindness. God’s word commands us to be kind (Ephesians 4:32).

We can speak the truth in love, express hurt, hold persons accountable, and still hold high standards without being nasty. Moreover, we can do all those things and still be kind.

It is necessary that we learn and practice how and when to have hard conversations without being passive aggressive or emotionally deceptive; are thoughtful and intentional about our speech because words can cut long, hard, and continuously even years after the conversation; and choose to allow the Holy Spirit to develop the fruit of kindness in us which leads to an overflow of being nice without the nasty.

We do not have the luxury of being disingenuous or hurtful in our conversation. It costs all of us too much to be unkind. The times in which we currently live demand that we move to a level of care and concern for one another that bans nice-nasty conversation, especially within the church.



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  1. Indeed, this was an excellent and timely read! The church has lost its effectiveness do to passive-agressive leadership at all levels. If supposed Spirit-led leaders are unable to have the necessary hard conversations in an appropriate manner which pleases God, then we can understand the nice-nastiness in the church. Why? Because the world is having these hard conversations and handling them the world’s way with the people of God. Therefore, we, the church, have been infiltrated with nice-nastiness from the pulpit to private conversations in the church, our homes and communities. Be authentic and walk in integrity by living out harmoniously what you think, say and do. Even if you have to walk alone…I sure do.

  2. Thank you for sharing this type of communication because it is not one of the fruit of the spirit. I enjoyed reading this article and will pass its content on to others who may not be aware they are practicing nice nasty words.

    • Thank you for the conformation that there is nothing nice about nasty. Words matter in Life. Psalm 119: 41-42, “Let Your mercies come also to me O Lord, Your salvation according to Your word. So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me”. Revive Your Church O Lord according to Your word. Nice is nice, nasty is just nasty.

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