It’s funny the kinds of things you regret when you take a moment to look back on life.
It’s not the things you would expect to regret when you’re in the moment. In the long run, you don’t regret breaking up with that first boyfriend. You don’t regret the fact that you missed your junior prom. And you don’t regret taking that extra AP class in high school. When it comes down to it, I’ve found that I regret the seemingly “little” choices I’ve made in life more than anything.
It was Saint Francis who said, “Preach the Gospel always. When necessary, use words.”
Obviously the major thrust of this quote is that your whole life is supposed to be your witness. We don’t need to always be yelling on the street corners about God because if we have true faith in Him, our lives will be a testament to that. People are more inclined to follow example vs. orders that are yelled at them.
Still, even St. Francis acknowledges that, sometimes, words are necessary. If we fail to grasp this, then we’ve missed the whole point. Just as our word must be accompanied by actions, sometimes our actions must be accompanied by words.
If there is one thing I regret, in high school especially, it was not sharing my faith more openly with those I came in contact with. I wasn’t ashamed of my faith…but I didn’t always stand up for it. I didn’t always speak up when my friends were doing things I knew would eventually cause them pain. Why? I thought I was being “nice”.
Well I learned something about the word “nice” this weekend while I was listening to a homily given by the Bishop of Phoenix.
Did you know that the word “nice” comes from the verb nescio, which comes from a verb scire and a preposition ne? Ne means not and scire means to know.
So basically, “nice” comes from a word that literally means, “to not know”.
Being “nice” may have helped me avoid confrontation, but there was no wisdom in my choosing to be “nice”.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m NOT saying we should all stop being kind to one another and go around self-righteously bashing other people’s beliefs. As Christians, we are called to love always. But “love” does not always equal “nice”.
Love isn’t about bending over backwards to avoid stepping on the toes of those around us. Love isn’t about biting your tongue when the truth might offend someone else.
Love is always honest—even when the truth is something that people may not want to hear.
Let’s stop being “nice” and start loving. I’ll pray for you if you pray for me