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Not Being a Jerk

Are you a nice person?  Are you an encourager?  Do people want to be in your presence?

Are you a jerk?  Do you push people away with insulting behavior and a lack of respect?

There is great power and influence in simply being a nice person.  Of course you could lead by demanding and pushing out those that resist, but then you will probably end  up working in a different place than the local church…right?  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case; and I’ve had my fair share of “What are they thinking?” moments with supervisors and pastors I’ve worked for in the church.  But when you make a decision to be a nicer person to those around you, you will open doors of opportunity to truly impact people around you with your vision for where you want to go!

There are probably 1,000 things that could help you be nicer to those around you, but have you considered these?

  • Have someone over for dinner.
  • Take someone to coffee.
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Send an unwarranted mobile text saying thank you.
  • Smile at people.
  • Stop complaining in the presence of others.
  • Stop conversations that are turning negative.
  • Compliment someones shoes.
  • Give people time to answer the question, “How are you doing?”
  • Be intentional about getting to know people.
  • Be generous with your time.
  • Open your life up for others to see.
  • Make eye contact when listening to someone.
  • Talk to children.  Really, really talk to them.
  • Introduce your spouse to new people.
  • Have a firm handshake and offer your hand to strangers.
  • Don’t brag about yourself.
  • Wear deodorant and brush your teeth.
  • Speak complimentary of your superiors and bosses.
  • Praise good things in others.
  • Laugh often.
  • Don’t laugh when it’s not appropriate.
  • Ask forgiveness when it’s needed.
  • Be quick to pray for people when they open up about a need.
  • Listen well, Talk less.

And most importantly, just try to be nice.  I can promise that if you intentionally set out to be a nicer person, it will happen.  People are much more gracious than you would imagine, and there is room for bad days here and there.  The power of forgiveness compliments this so well!

When we strive to be a person that is concerned for others, then we can become an influencer of people.  When you influence people, you can help lead others through life change!  The power to influence others may be the greatest power given to us, and it all starts with learning to NOT be a jerk!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Amy Fenton Lee · March 24, 2011

    Jonathan –

    This is so well said. I began reading this list thinking about 2 or 3 people that I hoped would be reading this post. AND THEN I got midway through the pointers and began feeling really convicted. I know someone out there is actually hoping that Amy Lee will learn a thing or two from this post.

    Thank you Jonathan for your insight and leadership. Now – I got some confessin’ to go to!

    • Jonathan Cliff · March 24, 2011

      You’ve just described how I felt about halfway through writing it! It’s a good reminder that being kind, nice, and approachable opens so many doors for influence; and I needed it more than anyone!

  2. Wayne · March 24, 2011

    Good stuff Jonathan.
    I’m tweeting, FB sharing AND copying the link to send internally!

  3. Jeff · March 24, 2011

    Great post! I especially like the list. Very specific.

  4. Anonymous · March 24, 2011


  5. Sam · March 25, 2011

    I would add. Don’t tell your friend his baseball team sucks when they are clearly the most successful sports (forget baseball) franchise in history.

  6. Sue · April 4, 2011

    I think you are right on, Jonathan. One thing I struggle with is acknowledging the gifts and good character qualities of others, especially non-believers. I’m ashamed to admit this; but acknowledging the strengths of others is such a relationship-strenghtening and building act and does help us to influence others for Christ.

    • Jonathan Cliff · April 4, 2011

      They’re all there if you’re looking! I’m with you, it’s a challenge but when we set out to find what we can like about people…it changes them and us!

  7. Crystal-Lynn Card · April 5, 2011

    Fantastic points. I think about the ‘lease of these’ often. The child or teenager who happens to be the ‘social outcast’ imagine how life would be different for people if everyone just paid a little extra attention? A cup of coffee or cocoa, a little listening, goes a long way.