Nice by Sharon Hodde Miller
I spent a lot of my high school years as a people pleaser and being a "nice" girl. I wasn't a Christian yet, but I went to church and thought that was how best to get close to God--to be a good person and nice to everyone. Many of those traits continued after I became a believer. Sharon Hodde Miller tells us in Nice that that isn't exactly what following Jesus looks like.
In Nice, Miller contrasts living a life of niceness to living a life in the Spirit of God and how those fruits differ. In the first part of the book, she shows us the fruits of in-authenticity, corruption, cowardice, cynicism, self-righteousness, and sentimentality. Interestingly enough, I found this book to be more convicting than I expected and was surprised to find that some of those traits applied to my way of living. As I have matured, I thought I had gotten rid of a lot of my people pleasing ways, but Miller showed me that I still have some work to do. In the second half of the book, she shares how we can grow to embrace God's true design for our life, to root our soul in Jesus, to prune the ways we need to let go of, and to flourish as we walk with God now. As you may have noticed, throughout the book, Miller uses many gardening analogies that I think many people can relate to whether they garden or not.
One of the biggest take-aways from this book for me was that niceness isn't so much about what we do as it is what we do not do. Many times in the name of being nice we fail to truly live out our faith and stand up for Jesus at times when we need to. I am sure I have never read another book addressing this important issue. I thought Miller did an excellent job of explaining what "nice" means and doesn't mean. She draws on Scripture and personal experiences, as well as sharing excerpts from other important works throughout the book as she explains important principles. For me, Nice is a keeper and a book that I will refer to again in my personal library. Nice would also make a great book for group discussion. There are questions at the end of each chapter along with a Scripture to focus on. I highly recommend this important book from Miller.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.