God is Not Nice: A Conversation Guide on God’s Character

Download a PDF of God is Not Nice.


Core Text: Isaiah 45:7

Core Visual/Illustration:

Possible items include: a DVD cover of Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion”; a recent funeral bulletin for someone widely loved and appreciated; news pictures or media clips of a serious disaster or tragedy.

Major Teaching /Talking Points:

Teaching Point #1 C. S. Lewis has famously observed, “God is not nice. He is good, but he is not nice.” Compare Lewis’ point with Isaiah 45:7.

Teaching Point #2 Note several texts that confirm God’s great goodness, such as Gen 1, Ps 34:8, Mt 5:45, Mk 6:30ff, etc.

Teaching Point #3 Scripture reveals many instances where God does not conform to our standards and expectations of being “good” and “nice.” Reference Jn 11:5-6, Mk 5:13-17, Mt 23:13-36.

Teaching Point #4 God does not ask us to be pleased with what he does or what he may permit, but he does remind us that we do not yet see the whole picture. Reference Isaiah 55:8-9, I Cor 13:11-12, Dt 29:29.

Teaching Point #5 God reminds us that however confusing and bleak life may look, we can see by what he has done on the cross and in the resurrection that he will bring all things to his good and great conclusion. See Rom 8:28, Rom 11:33-36, Eph 1:9-10.

Questions / Discussion Starters for Youth:

1. Recall a time when you have had to wonder about God’s goodness (as have the Biblical writers such as in Ps 10 and Ps 13).

2. Discuss how much we just don’t know about what God may or may not be doing in our life and world events.

3. What is the difference between “nice” and “good”? Suggest some human examples such as with parents, true friends, brothers and sisters, DCEs, teachers, and pastors.

4. When God is not nice in the way we might want him to be, what does the Gospel Loudly and clearly declare to us from the cross and the empty tomb?

About the author

Dr. Russ Moulds serves as a professor of education at Concordia University-Nebraska.
View more from Russ

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