If you’ve spent any time in the Christian dating world lately, you’ve likely heard the term “nice guys finish last.” Or the feminine variation, “Nice girls finish last.” These phrases can also get spun in the following ways:
“All Stacey does is date losers who don’t treat her right. I’m a nice guy. Why can’t she pick a nice guy like me?”
“Derek keeps going after crazy, high-maintenance girls. When will he wake up and go after a low-maintenance girl like me?”
You get the point. Essentially a “nice guy” or “nice girl” by this definition is someone who perceives themselves as more polite, more low-maintenance, more caring, and more loving than the rest of the dating pool. Although the person who says this may have good intentions—and let’s be honest, we’ve likely seen a bridezilla or mean guy and thought they didn’t deserve happiness as much as we did—it actually has far more sinister and anti-biblical connotations. Below we’ll explore what godly (not nice) men and women of God look like and how to avoid becoming a “nice girl” or “nice guy.”
Why Is the Phrase “Nice Girl” or “Nice Guy” so Wrong?
We need to add a caveat here that this is in no way discounting:
– Exercising the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5
– Treating a brother and sister in Christ with respect and dignity
– Putting others in front of ourselves, especially on dates and other matters of courtship
Why the phrase “nice girl” or “nice guy” is antibiblical is because the person A) puts themselves on a pedestal and B) questions why God hasn’t yet granted them the relationship they believe they so deserve. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been guilty of saying this and have had to repent of this mindset. Let’s dissect points A and B.
“Why doesn’t she date me? I’m such a nice guy,” implies that the man or men she has dated are of far worse quality than the “nice guy.” The Bible says that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). By this standard, none of us deserve anything on account of our sin—let alone a happy relationship.
The Bible tells us time and time again not to compare ourselves:
2 Corinthians 10:12: “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
We need to focus on ourselves, rather than protest to God as to why someone ought not to be in a relationship.
With this in mind, let’s address point B: questioning God. I’d be remiss not to admit that I’ve gotten frustrated with God that those whom I thought unready for a relationship got into one far quicker than myself. But we need to know that his ways are not ours and that when we call ourselves a “nice girl” or “nice guy” we question his wonderful plan for our lives. We want him to operate on our timeline.
Finally, this sense of entitlement leads us to lash out at those who reject our advances. To insult those who say they do not want to pursue a courtship or dating. And so the vicious cycle continues.
So how do we become a “godly” man or woman, rather than a nice one?
What Are the Traits of a Godly Man or Woman?
We could spend articles upon articles discussing what makes a godly man or woman, but let’s look at the word godly. In other words, reflecting God’s character. Let’s use 1 Corinthians 13 as a measuring rod. We’ll replace the word love with “God” as God is love.
God is patient: So should our love be. If we know that God has called us to pursue a relationship down the road, we will exercise patience. The “nice” guy or girl will grow impatient. They will try to force God’s hand and make things happen outside of God’s timeline.
God is kind: A godly person treats others with kindness, regardless if they will receive a payment in return. A “nice” guy or girl will get upset if someone rejects their advances.
God does not envy: We do not get mad when someone dates or gets married whom we think to be unfit for the relationship. We’ll allow God to work in the lives of those people. “Nice” guys and girls exercise an incredible amount of envy for their peers.
God does not boast and is not proud: If you’re humble and nice, you won’t boast about it. Allow for your deeds, done in love, to speak for themselves. A nice girl or guy will eagerly tell you how humble/nice/kind/polite they are.
God does not dishonor others: First thing a nice guy or girl will say when you reject your advances? “Well, you’re ugly.” “You’re not even worth lusting after.” “You’re not even worth my time.” You may think these examples extreme, but I’ve experienced them. A godly person, on the other hand, outdoes people in honor.
God is not self-seeking: Nice guys and girls want relationships. They want sex. They want someone to call their own. They want, want, want. A godly person, on the other hand, pines after the things of God’s own heart.
God is not easily angered: Nice guys and girls and snap fast if you don’t give them what they desire. Godly people, on the other hand, exercise restraint and show kindness in the midst of rejection and hurt.
God keeps no record of wrongs: Nice guys and girls remember every slight. They hold on to every time someone has spurned their affection. As godly people, we forgive and let go.
You get the point. God doesn’t want nice; he wants holy. And often “nice” guys and girls have idolized relationships so much that they’ve lost sight of their mission here on earth, to spread the Gospel, to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly, and outdo each other in honor.
As a person who has experience singleness for a long time—and as someone who has the desire for romantic relationships deeply ingrained into the fibers of my being, I totally understand the places in which the nice guys and girls come from. I have come from those very same places of hurt, of abandonment, and of rejection. To any of those people who read this now, know that I understand the pain which you feel. But also know that you have an Almighty God who has a wonderful plan for your life. Whether you end up in a Song of Solomon-type relationship or spend the rest of your days with the gift of singleness, God has not abandoned you. God has not forgotten you. And God will continue to stand by you, walk with you, and hold you in your hurt. In the meantime, let’s pursue godliness and not expect kind actions to have a repayment. Let’s let our good deeds praise our Father in heaven, and let us not buy into the lie our culture tells us that only a relationship can make us truly happy. Only God can do that.
Photo credit: GettyImages/nicoletaionescu
Hope Bolinger is an editor at Salem, a multi-published novelist, and a graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 1,100 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy released its first two installments with IlluminateYA, and the final one, Vision, releases in August of 2021. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in November of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.