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Our third Lent devotion is from Jennifer T. Holmes, a development officer at Habitat for Humanity International.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-6, (New International Version)

Recently, I came across a video on YouTube titled “Stop Being Nice So You Can Be Kind.” As I watched the video, behaviours that I practice regularly in efforts to be “nice” surfaced in my mind. Normally, I feel compelled to explain the “why” behind my decisions, even when no one asks. Often, I feel the need to solve other people’s problems, even when they don’t ask for my help. For many of us, the social conditioning to be “nice” — e.g., abandoning our needs to accommodate others, assuming responsibility for “keeping the peace,” being silent about our thoughts and feelings  starts at an early age. This is particularly true for individuals who identify as female and other historically and systemically marginalized people. 

Being nice is centred on what we believe we can glean from obtaining someone else’s favour. Because niceness does not require authenticity, practicing niceness regularly can lead to feelings of resentment and being overextended and underappreciated. Niceness is quite different from the kindness described in the scripture above.

Kindness is a type of love that makes room for others to live their God-given purpose without our attempting to influence them. Kindness is a love action that eliminates selfish ambition and ego. When we are motivated by kindness, we use our positions to build people instead of using people to build our positions. Kindness is a love that lives in truth. Kindness speaks truth in our relationships with God, ourselves, our colleagues, our schedules, our finances and with the people we serve through our work at Habitat. Kindness leads to everyone being honoured and valued equitably.

During this time of Lent, let us choose kindness over niceness as we reflect on the love that led Jesus to the cross.


Lord, You are the best and only example of true love. We pray for the help of the Holy Spirit to resist performative behaviours such as niceness and to be led in practicing kindness as our expression of love to You. Amen.

Read our 2024 Lent Devotions here

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