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September 9, 2021

A Good Man (Part 2)

I know I’m not the only one who has ever had a girl give him the “You’re a nice guy, but…” line.

I can still picture her half smile and the way she tilted her head when she delivered those five painful words. Her name was Sunny, and she was my high school swim team crush my freshman year of high school. It took a while, but I finally worked up the courage to ask her out. Her response was designed to spare my feelings, and I could see sympathy in her eyes as she shut the door on any future relationship.

I didn’t have the courage to ask her what the “but…” included.

There was also zero comfort in knowing that she thought I was a nice guy. I’m sure I’m not the only “nice guy” to hear those words and somehow feel belittled by them.

Nice is OK, some of the time. But even now, almost 40 years later, I cringe a bit when I hear someone describe me as a “nice guy.”

How do I want to be described? I think it’s high praise when someone describes me as a good man. I always want to live up to that description. I see a big difference between a nice guy and a good man. And I don’t think there is ever a “but…” that comes after the words, “You’re a good man.” The “good man” part completely negates the need for a “but…”

“You’re a good man,” stands on its own.

A nice guy is polite and positive. He’s encouraging and thoughtful. Maybe he says “please” and “thank you” and holds the door open for you. These are all good things. A good man should do these things too.

But there is much more to being a good man.

I’ve said this many times—Jesus is my model for masculinity. And I would never use the word “nice” to describe him. He’s kind, humble and gentle for sure, but not nice.

A good man is MORE than nice. It’s not nice to speak truth that offends someone or challenges their world view. It’s not nice to call out a brother or sister in Christ for rude or immoral behavior. It’s a loving thing to do, but it isn’t nice. Nice doesn’t rock the boat. Nice keeps the peace, but it’s a fake peace that serves no godly purpose. [I explore this more in the Living Lionhearted Journal.]

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about our soldiers and policemen. I thank God for them. Would you rather be protected by a good man or a nice guy? When your life is in danger, and you call 911 are you hoping for a nice guy to show up at your door?

As you think about the man you are before the Lord, do you pray for strength and courage to be nicer or to be better for the people in your life?

I asked a few godly women what their take on “nice” versus “good” is as it relates to men and their responses were very telling. “Nice” was perceived as shallow, whereas a good man has depth and integrity. They described him as selfless as he cared for people around him. A good man stands for something and has a backbone.

Pastor Mary Ann put it this way, “Nice can be superficial and behavior-oriented where “good” relates to quality of character.” I like that.

I believe wholeheartedly that the world needs good men more than it needs nice guys.

And an added bonus? A good man obtains favor from the Lord (Proverbs 12:2).

Closing thoughts on being a good man next week!

  • What do you think the difference is between a good man and a nice guy?
  • Have you ever been described as a nice guy? Did you like that?
  • Can you think of times in your life when you settled for niceness when the situation actually called for more?

River West Men | Upcoming Opportunities

Men, there are a lot of awesome events coming up. Get these things on your calendar and register today!


Man Night @ the Fisher’s

September 23 | 6:00pm-8:00pm

A night of man stuff: axe throwing, pickleball, cornhole, spike ball + dinner.

RSVP HERE  Yes, real men RSVP!


Living Lionhearted Men’s Study

October 9-December 18

Saturday Mornings 7:30am-9:00am

Register HERE

Perhaps now more than ever men need a clear understanding of what biblical manhood looks like. “Living Lionhearted” is my vision for manhood that I developed for myself and my son over many years. It’s now packaged as a journal with weekly reading and questions for reflection and discussion.

Men will gather in person at River West for live teaching and small group discussion for this 10-week study. Sons currently in high school are welcome to participate with their fathers. This is not an inductive Bible study. This is a deep dive into manhood.


Marriage Ministry Monthly Dinners


Register HERE

This ministry is designed to foster small group communities where honest conversations about marriage thrive and couples are encouraged, equipped, and challenged to strengthen their bond while deepening faith in Jesus.

Key components of this experience will include the following:

  • 1 Host Couple with 3 participating couples = small group community
  • 8 gatherings over dinner (1/month, October-May)
  • Materials for use: You and Me Foreverbook and study guide/workbook by Francis and Lisa Chan


Father + Son Adventure Camp

October 1-3

For sons in 1st-5th grade

More details to come


Father + Daughter Dance

February 18

For daughters 3 years old-5th grade

More details to come


Father + Daughter Camp

April 29-May 1

For daughters in kindergarten-5th grade

More details to come


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