Nice: Why We Love to Be Liked and How God Calls Us to More

Nice: Why We Love to Be Liked and How God Calls Us to More

by Sharon Hodde Miller, Franz Delitzsch


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God never called us to be nice.

What happens when we replace courage with compromise?
What happens when we replace honesty with likability?
What happens when we replace conviction with clichés?
What happens when we replace discipleship to Christ with a devotion to nice?

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.

In this life-changing book, Sharon Hodde Miller explores the seemingly innocent idol that has crept into our faith and quietly corrupted it, producing the bad fruits of cowardice, inauthenticity, shallowness, and more. Then she challenges readers to cultivate a better tree, providing practical steps to reclaim our credibility as followers of Christ, and bear better, richer, more life-giving fruits.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801075247
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/20/2019
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 148,897
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Sharon Hodde Miller is a pastor's wife, a mother to two small boys, and the author of Free of Me. In addition to earning her PhD, Sharon has blogged at for nearly ten years, making God's Word accessible to women everywhere. She has been a regular contributor to Propel and Her.meneutics, and has written for Relevant, Christianity Today, (in)courage, She Reads Truth, and many other publications and blogs. She speaks regularly on topics ranging from leadership to body image to Scripture. She lives with her family in the Raleigh/Durham area.

Table of Contents

Introduction 11

1 The Fruit of Niceness 19

2 Fake: The Fruit of Inauthenticity 33

3 Rotten: The Fruit of Corruption 47

4 Bland: The Fruit of Cowardice 63

5 Bitter: The Fruit of Cynicism 79

6 Hard: The Fruit of Self-Righteousness 93

7 Processed: The Fruit of Sentimentality 107

8 Cultivating a Better Tree 121

9 Grow Original: Embracing Your Design 131

10 Grow Deep: Rooting Your Soul 149

11 Grow Less: Pruning Your Produce 165

12 Grow Wild: Flourishing in the Wilderness 181

13 The Fruit That Lasts 195

Acknowledgments 203

Notes 207

About the Author 213

Customer Reviews

Nice: Why We Love to Be Liked and How God Calls Us to More 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Mon1 8 months ago
I am a pastor and choose this book for our women's church group book club. We read it in six weeks by doubling up the chapters. ALL the ladies loved it. I love how it's written. This is more than a "self-help" book. This is easier to read and bring others along than a traditional "Bible Study" because ladies feel like they are just reading a couple of easy to read chapters a week.'s full of scripture. I will definitely check out her other books!
Librarycataloger More than 1 year ago
All of my life I've heard that I should be nice but in her new book Sharon Hodde Miller tells readers that "God did not call you to be nice." She supports this statement by focusing on the analogy that Jesus used in Matthew 7 when he stated that "Every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit , nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit." In the first seven chapters of Nice: Why We Love to be Liked and How God Calls Us to More, Miller explains that the fruits of niceness can be fake, rotten, bland, bitter, hard, and processed. What does she suggest that we do? We must cultivate a better tree and the last six chapters are devoted to this concept. We can become better by finding our true purpose, rooting our soul, becoming deeper and better, and flourishing, so that the fruit we produce will be a lasting fruit! This book is easy to read and easy to comprehend and I like that most of the chapters include the sections Taking Root (selected Bible scripture) and Digging Deeper (questions to help us increase our understanding). There are also several pages of notes with bibliographical references. I have been using it for my personal study but I believe that Nice would also be a valuable resource to use in a Women's Bible Study, I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Baker Publishing but a favorable review was not required. These are my own thoughts.
AmyWa More than 1 year ago
I never really thought about how being Nice is not always good. In the new book, Nice: Why We Love to Be Liked and How God Calls Us to More by Sharon Hodde Miller she discusses why this is. She breaks down how being nice can be so many different things including fake and not living an authentic life for Christ. This was something I never really thought about but it challenged me. We hold up being liked in our culture and that isn’t what we are called to. This book will help you break this down and cause you to think. I was blessed to receive a copy via the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Teadrinker More than 1 year ago
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. I received this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
michelemorin More than 1 year ago
Miller warns readers against false virtues that are the fruit of empty niceness: Fake courage C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape aimed to confuse courage with “feeling brave” in the mind of his patient. “Brave” has become a juicy commodity for Christian writers and speakers, so we’re continually reinforced in patting ourselves on the back for courage that is more about platform than about the uncomfortable disruption we see in the lives of Old Testament heroes like Jeremiah and his fellow prophets with their gritty messages calling for repentance and warning of judgment. Fake righteousness Self-righteousness puts on a good show, but the “niceness” evaporates when grace for the “undeserving” walks into the room–or when a truly brave soul dares to take on the Pharisee with constructive criticism. Our Greatest Obstacle to Spiritual Growth Every spiritual discipline and every positive example of Christ in the New Testament, all given for our growth, cuts across our standard of what the “nice” Christian should do or be. With our addiction to success, it’s hard to make room for teaching that looks like death or loss, but (returning to Matthew 7 and the Sermon on the Mount) Jesus is all about pruning, cutting back, and burning the dead wood. As we abandon our middle school efforts to enter the “inner ring,” as we conform to Christ and understand that we don’t need to become someone else in order to come to Christ, the masks come off. The example of the apostle Peter during Jesus’s trials and later in the early church reveals that most of us want acceptance far more than we want Christ. As our roots go deep into disciplines of worship, study, obedience, and hope, we begin to see that we are being held in relationship with Christ the True Vine, and this is where true virtue lives. Nice is our call to close the gap between who we are and who we are called to be; to be who we say we are; and to begin the slow work that produces the fruit of righteousness, the only fruit that lasts for eternity. Many thanks to Baker Books for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.
Meg Bucher More than 1 year ago
“Nice,” by Sharon Hodde Miller, answers the question “why we love to be liked and how God calls us to more.” It’s a convicting and soul-stripping book that will challenge us to leave our comfortable faith behind and develop a more radically authentic understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. “When it comes to our friends, we are more prone to circle the wagons than earnestly search for truth.” Sharon Hodde-Miller, “Nice.” The first seven chapters begin with an adjective, a negative connotation for the facade being “nice” can be: fake, rotten, bland, bitter, hard and processed. Chapter eight cuts right to the heart of how to “Cultivate a Better Tree,” and the remaining chapters feature an adjective in the title describing positive growth: original, deep, less, and wild. The book culminates with Chapter Thirteen, “The Fruit that Lasts,” in which Hodde-Miller writes, “This nice Christianity is not where we came from and it is not who we are called to be.” I appreciate the author’s authenticity, and boldness to speak the truth. Many Scriptures are referenced in order to lead the reader into the kind of faith Christ modeled for us. I personally agree with that many of us have fallen into “nice” faith. We are called to live life to the full …not just to be “nice.” I highly recommend this book. It’s written in brilliant layers with the utmost though and consideration for the Gospel truth. The illustrations and stories supported the overarching theme. Readers will appreciate the honest and straightforward tone of this book. “The rise of fake courage is part of the reason we are experiencing a shortage of the real thing.” Sharon Hodde Miller, “Nice.” (I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
dhiggins4 More than 1 year ago
Wow! This is the word I would use to describe “Nice” by Sharon Hodde Miller. This was one of those books that I can say I learned so much from. There were many moments when Sharon “stepped on my toes”! I have learned so much from her, and I feel like my spiritual life has been strengthened from reading her book. Sharon writes in a way that feels like you are sitting right next to her! Sharon tells us that “God never calls us to be nice”. At first, this doesn’t sound right, but the more you read her book, the more you understand exactly what she is saying. And she is right! I could identify so much with her as I am one of those “people pleasing” type girls. I’ve always been one of those “nice” girls who sugar-coats things. I definitely recommend this book to everyone out there. Sharon Hodde Miller is a great writer, and she will challenge you to live your life the way God wants you to. I received this book from Baker Books for my honest opinion.
JViola79 More than 1 year ago
We are raised to be "nice" and we raise our children to be the same. But what if we are wrong in thinking we are to be nice? In her latest book, Nice: Why We Love To Be Liked And How God Calls Us To More, Sharon Hodde Miller, introduces this premise: "God did not call you to be nice." (page 11) She addresses the truth, God's truth, that we are called to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and "nice" is not among the list of those fruit. "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT) Surprisingly, "nice" is not there. So what is wrong with "nice"? "Niceness is a false virtue, and in the church it is a false idol." Niceness is "a trivial virtue that is easy to fake." "We are nice because it is to our benefit to be." "Niceness has the appearance of serving others but it exists primarily to serve ourselves, and that is why niceness is a false virtue." Niceness has a way of permeating our personalities so that we seem to be authentic. It is a deceptive virtue that leads way to other bad and deceptive virtues. This book stresses the truth of how God calls us to kindness, this is the genuine fruit He desires to grow in our lives. We need discernment to distinguish between niceness and kindness: "One way to distinguish them is knowing who they aim to please. One is motivated by people-pleasing, the other by faithfulness to God." (page 40) And then there is this to consider: "Kindness calls us to be honest in a way that is loving, even if it isn't always nice." (page 41) This book is convicting and challenging, in the very best of ways. It's not an easy read because it will cause you to reflect, to look deep within your heart, and to begin to uproot the bad fruit which may lie hidden. Each chapter brings a verse to memorize in "Taking Root". There are also four questions to guide the reader in "Digging Deeper". These questions are designed for reflection and application. The author stirs us to pursue Christ more deeply and be conformed to Him. She calls us to true Christianity: [The book] is about "being who we say we are and who God called us to be. If that is our aim, then we need to name the bad fruit, cut down the tree, pull out the roots, and adopt the habits that will actually bear the fruit of Christ through the power of his Spirit." (page 201) Having read her first book, Free Of Me, this book did not disappoint and was written with the same thought provoking transparency. ** I was provided a copy of this book by Baker Publishing Group. All opinions are honest and my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before reading Nice: Why We Love To Be Liked And How God Calls Us To More, I never really thought about being “nice” as a problem. However, according to the author, Sharon Hodde Miller, God did not call us to be merely nice people. Miller explains how niceness can become an idol, and defines niceness as “the ways we make ourselves pleasant, agreeable, acceptable, or likable in order to get something.” When a Christian’s ultimate goal is to be “nice”, Miller shows how the result can be inauthenticity, corruption, cowardice, cynicism, self-righteousnes, or sentimentality. Miller is careful to emphasize that as Christians, we are still called to kindness, gentleness and love. In no way is she advocating that we abandon niceness in favor of harshness, meanness, mud-slinging or name-calling. I really admire how the author is able to weave personal stories as well as stories from the Bible to illustrate the ways in which striving to be “nice” can actually lead to strife. Nice is a book that really made me reevaluate my own motives and ultimate goals for being nice. I would encourage anyone who thinks of themselves as a “nice” person to read this book and see if it challenges his or her notions of niceness as well.
Molly Stillman More than 1 year ago
I wish I could put into words how I feel about this book, but honestly, I can’t do it justice. This is the book our culture needs right now. We are in desperate need of people who are courageous in the real sense of the word. Sharon so eloquently, lovingly, and scripturally helps us to see the bad fruits of “niceness” and, rather, challenges us to pursue Christlike kindness, truthfulness, and courage. Read this book. Read it again. Highlight it. Share it with a friend. This is a book that can radically change your faith.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In a very personal and conversational style Sharon outlines the fruits of niceness: fake, rotten, bland, bitter, hard, and processed. Each of these fruits identifies a sinful root of why we choose niceness over the way of Jesus. She goes on to look at how we as Christians can grow healthier. Each chapter is like a mini sermon with illustrations and explanations that challenge Christians to a deeper way of being. What I liked most about this book was that it showed me where I could grow as a follower of Jesus. It didn’t pressure me to do more things, instead it challenged me to root and abide in Christ.
Shay1122 More than 1 year ago
This book is AMAZING! It's convicting, relevant, and makes you truly look at how you present yourself in a whole new light. It's one thing to be 'nice' and a whole other thing to be truly 'kind' and being kind in the manner that God has called us to. It gives you the courage to do the hard things, but know that you're doing it because GOD. It's all about God in every aspect! I was challenged in this book to self examine, but it has made me come out stronger. Highly recommend, especially for a small group.
SoundMindMama More than 1 year ago
As a recovering people pleaser, I was eager to dig in and start reading. I expected to be encouraged, challenged, and learn some practical skills to move past my desire for everyone to like me. This book is so much more than that! I can't wait for my hard copy to arrive so I can read again with a highlighter in hand. Each chapter is like sitting through an amazing sermon message and Sharon's writing is grounded in Biblical truth. This book just became my new reference guide for those time in my life where I just don't feel like I'm enough.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
Upon reading this book, I kept thinking…this would be more effective as an audiobook. For me, there just isn’t enough white space in this printed version and reading page after page makes me eye weary. Perhaps if there were page embellishments here and there, illustrations or drawings, more bullet points, something to break up the text… I’m not sure if others feel the same, but I need breaks from lines and lines of text (in a non-fiction book.) One of the most powerful statements in this book was in the introduction and is what inspired the author to write the book in the first place: God did not call you to be nice. That’s a pretty bold statement, but the truth of it becomes evident. Sometimes being nice puts the focus on ourselves. The truth explained in this book can propel you forward into a stronger faith, inner joy, and a life of kindness. Overall: I feel this is a unique, spiritual, self-help kind of book that makes you see being nice in a different light. Although I appreciate the substance, I wish it was presented in a more eye-pleasing and easy-to-read way, with additional white space, illustrations, and more concise chapters.Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was under no obligation to post a positive review.