Nice

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

I love Sharon Hodde Miller - her writing, speaking and the way she leads and inspires women to lead. Her newest book, "Nice", is no exception. Niceness has permeated our culture at large - and the church too. We look down on those who take a stand or speak out as "persistent", "rebellious", or "nasty." Her book about the bad fruit niceness actually produces and the way we can go beyond being "nice" to something deeper and greater is amazing. It is well-written, theologically sound, scripturally deep and challenging. I absolutely loved it!
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We should all be nice. But what does it mean to be nice. What is nice? How do we be nice and follow our faith or be true to ourselves. I love this book and have purchased this book as gifts for family and friends. This would be a wonderful book for ladies small group bible study or book club!
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The concept of this book was a good once but the content didn't really resonate with me. It wasn't what I expected.
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What a topic to tackle head-on. As the book description says, "We live in a culture that prizes niceness as one of its highest virtues. Niceness keeps the peace, wins friends, gains influence, and serves our reputations well, but it also takes the teeth out of our witness and the power out of our faith. When we choose to be nice instead of faithful, we bear fruits that are bland, bitter, empty, and rotten to the core."

Sharon Hodde Miller turns the tables on a word used frequently, a word that just might have become an idol in today's world. Should we aim to be nice? What is our ultimate goal? What are we truly seeking and what matters most? Through "Nice," Miller challengers readers to examine the fruit their lives are producing, uproot idols and ultimately cultivate better fruit that is not focused on people pleasing but centered on Christ.
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This book confronts the long-held belief that 1) all Christians must be nice and 2) if we aren’t nice, then we aren’t being ‘good Christians’. I love that the author argues this by countering that Jesus wasn’t nice - he was kind, but he definitely wasn’t nice. He said the hard things and did things that He knew would earn him disproval. All because He knew that being ‘nice’ wouldn’t draw people to God, but the truth would. This book was beautifully written and challenged the reader to be the kind of Christian that God designed us to be. We all need to hear this message, again and again.
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Niceness is something many of us have had instilled into us since an early age.  We're taught to be pleasant and polite, not to offend others, to play by the rules.  And it's all too easy to equate niceness with being a "good Christian."
In this challenging book, Sharon Hodde Miller attempts to dispel that myth, encouraging us that:
"God did not call you to be nice."
In the first half of the book, she examines the fruit of niceness and identifies some of the traps we can all too easily fall into such as using niceness to win us acceptance and praise, or allowing it to inhibit our courage and lead us to be inauthentic.
In the second half of the book, she goes on to explore how we can tackle this idol of niceness and cultivate a tree that bears better fruit.
It is a thought-provoking read with some relatable real-life stories and some memorable illustrations that bring the points to life.  I don't think I've highlighted quite so much in a book since I read Sharon Hodde Miller's last book "Free Of Me," and there are several parts I plan to return to in order to reflect some more.
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“God never called us to be nice,” Miller writes. (Loc 2345/2640) What? But after reading her book, I think I get it. Yes, we are called to exhibit kindness, gentleness, and the other fruit of the Spirit. Being nice is not in that list. 

Being nice means we want to be liked and appreciated. We don't speak the truth and we avoid hard conversations. It can become an idol and it can stand between us and obedience. It is “false formation that has replaced conformity to Christ.” (Loc 2391/2640)

Miller shows us the bad fruit of niceness. We can look so great, so Christian, for example, but hide what is really going on underneath. It is a false virtue. It is being religious. It is pleasing people rather than God.

Miller takes the second half of her book to help us uproot the tree of niceness and replace it with one growing toward true Christlikeness. To help readers incorporate the material included, Miller provides a Scripture at the end of each chapter as well as questions for personal reflection or group study.

I am a bit stunned by this book since my parents demanded niceness as I was growing up. Miller's book has given me a whole new way to look at being “nice,” especially my motives for doing so. This is a good book for Christians who want to grow in Christlikeness and avoid the trap of being nice.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. The quotes above are from an unedited copy of the book and may have changed in the final edition.
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I was not familiar with the author’s works prior to being chosen to be a part of the launch team so I feel I can give an honest review.  This is not the kind of book I thought it would be,  Being a “nice” Christian and person is often not how we should be at all.  Being nice doesn’t ruffle any feathers or gives anyone that believes different than you a reason to not like you.  Being nice is not an effective way to live out your faith in real life.  The author has some tremendous points and uses gardening analogies that supports those thoughts.  I highlighted quite a few of the passages as I will often refer back to.  It was a refreshing and thought provoking read .  It certainly has struck a chord with me; I will aim to be kind but will try to refrain from “being nice” which is the easy way to try just to please people and be accepted.
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This review is going to step on toes, because as much as we like to pretend otherwise, we as Christians do tend to idolize niceness to open and honest rebuke. 
Nice by Sharon Hodde Miller is not nice. It is an important critique of the church today, and is an examination of what we can do about the problem. As someone who still struggles with the need to be accepted, I found Sharon's book to be both helpful and hopeful. If we aren't willing to speak up when we see abuse or gossip, we won't ever be able to stand up for our faith. 
Nice doesn't rock the boat, because we lose influence that way. Nice doesn't say anything when a friend's family is gossiped about, because we lose friends that way. Nice looks the other way when the oppressed are led to the slaughter, because we could be next. Nice uses social media just for personal information and not for important societal problems, because it brings down everyone's day and we want to stay in people's good graces.

I'm taking a hard look at my idols. What will you do with yours?

I give Nice 5/5 stars and recommend it to everyone.
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Are Christians conditioned to be too nice? It’s what God calls us to be, isn’t it? 

Not necessarily…

This is Sharon Hodde Miller’s message throughout her book, Nice.

Being nice is the politically correct societal climate. I never thought of nice as being something we idolize; something that might make us afraid to appear NOT nice, so we hide behind it. 

Hodde Miller explores how followers of Christ have easily taken to being too nice, rather than being even slightly, true. How many of us might choose the safety of being ‘liked’ over the fear of being ‘unfollowed’?

Maybe nice has its place. Sharon explains how God gave us all a spirit of “power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7, and that we can still be faithful, have convictions, be courageous, be respectful AND be respected. 

Well set up with a reflection at the end of each chapter, Nice is a powerful writing on how to be witnesses of Jesus’ truth, in today’s nice world. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Baker Books for the read of Sharon Hodde Miller’s, Nice.
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"Nice" is a call for Christians to assess how they are living out their christianity. Are we trying to maintain the status quo and keep up a nice image, or are we doing the hard work to live out the truth, struggles, imperfections, honesty, and all? Individually, each chapter contains great content! However, it did take awhile to fully connect the given definition of "nice" to each of the topics. Regardless, still worth the read.
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