Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How Do You Say Hello?

Have you ever noticed all of the different ways we greet each other? There is a wide range of greeting styles from different personalities and from people living different lives. Each greeting is based on who we are as a person and is related to how we are feeling at that particular moment and/or how the person at the other end of the greeting is perceived to be feeling. Our greetings can also depend on how long it has been since we've seen a particular person.

When you pass a stranger on the street do you say anything to them? I usually do not and I think that MOST people don't say anything either. Some of us might say, "Hi." or, for the REALLY adventurous among us, "Good morning." But usually there is no greeting at all offered to strangers. Not even eye contact. Why not?

Contrast that with a loving family. When my family gets together for a family reunion for example, there are lots of hugs. There are kisses on the cheek, warm embraces and smiles for everyone. We haven't seen each other for months, maybe even years.

When my wife and I go away on a long trip, I often say goodbye to some of my co-workers - a few of them receive hugs. They are like family members to me.

For the past several years I have the great joy of serving at a food pantry once each month. I have come to know and love the people who come through the line there. They are also like family to me. We greet each other lovingly, like family, with hugs, smiles and warm conversations.

Greeting someone we DON'T get along with, or someone we have had a disagreement with, can be awkward at best and sometimes downright nasty. Why is that? Pride perhaps? An unwillingness to admit a wrong? Or a stubbornness not to forgive? That is not right.

Have you read the Old Testament story of Jacob and Esau? They were half brothers who didn't play well with one another in their youth. They were about to meet again after many years apart. What did Jacob do when he learned Esau was on his way to see him?

Jacob sent Esau a rather large gift and then, when Jacob saw his brother coming, Jacob bowed down to him - not once but seven times. And how did Esau respond to Jacob after they had spent their entire childhoods at odds with one another?

33 Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. 2 He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept."
- Genesis 33:1-4

Want to see something cool? Look at Luke 15 and see if you can see any similarities between Jacob and Esau's greeting and the greeting of the Father and the prodigal son.

“20 But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." - Luke 15:20

God instructs us in His Word that we are to love one another (John 13:34). That is NOT a suggestion. That is a COMMAND from God. If we call ourselves Christians we are to love one another . . . without exception. Now, how do you think we should greet one another on the street?

Should we continue to ignore all of the strangers we meet? Should we smile and say hello? Should we walk right up the them and give them a hug? And how would we greet Jesus if we saw HIM on the street? Why should there be any difference?

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Greet one another warmly. Otherwise . . .

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. - Matthew 25:44-46

God said "Hello" to us when He called us to join His family. He said "Hello" with open arms and a kiss on the cheek. Let us say "Hello" to someone today that we usually pass by. Who knows. Perhaps we will be "entertaining angels" (Hebrews 13:2) when we do so.

Free Hug Campaign
Entertaining Angels - Newsboys

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