Day #9 “One Another” December 9, 2017
A Biblical way to immediately get fired and disgraced!
What would happen at your place of employment (or church, club, social group, etc.,) if you greeted everyone with a kiss? Men and women? Employees and employers? Casual acquaintances and long-time friends? People a lot younger than you…a lot older?
Someone would capture it on video via their cell phone or a surveillance camera, people would file complaints with H.R. or go straight to the press, and before the day is over, you’d be in big time trouble. Depending on your status, you might be fodder for the evening news.
Yet, that’s what the Bible tells us to do!
Greet One Another with a Holy Kiss
“Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (Rom. 16:16, 1 Cor. 16:20, 2 Cor. 13:12, 1 Pet. 5:14)
That’s the Apostle Paul’s direction to the people in Rome and to all Christians everywhere. As we’ve been learning, the “one another’s” in the Bible meant for everyone – not just the “in’s” — those in our exclusive little group. Not just for other “Christians.”
So we need to understand the culture! A Holy Kiss was a relevant custom for the time – for people of any faith or no faith. It’s still used in some Middle East countries. Today – it would get you fired and they’d do a story on you on the evening news.
So – what would be the equivalent today? Think about how you like to be greeted. It’s much more meaningful when someone smiles, looks you in the eye, gives you their undivided attention, shakes your hand, and engages you sincerely and warmly, right?
IMO those things would be today’s equivalent.
In many situations, hugs are acceptable and appreciated…but we should be aware of the situation and read the other person’s body language.
Why would Paul even have to direct someone when a “Holy Kiss” was the accepted standard of the day? Because many people do just the opposite! That’s true today!
No one likes to be greeted with a scowl – with stand-offishness, with disapproval, condemning, looking down your nose, judging, …you might even be joking – but does the other person know it? Do people watching you know you’re joking? Is that important???
The important thing is what your greeting conveys.
Here’s what I believe The Holy Spirit of Jesus meant when he encouraged Paul to write to the churches to greet one another with a holy kiss: Love one another as Christ loves us!
- Engage the other person sincerely and warmly
- Give unconditional acceptance
- Don’t judge — don’t be critical
- Be genuinely devoted to the other person – give them your full attention
- Don’t seek attention for yourself – give them your full attention
- Live in harmony with them
The opposite of those would be conveying that “the other” isn’t as important as you or as “good” as you. Conveying exclusion, judging, disdain for the other person, condemnation, shaming, putting down…are simply not loving one another as Christ loves us.
So today, let’s all ask the Holy Spirit of Christ to live through us and as us as He greets and relates to everyone in our life. When He does, the people we interact with see the great mystery (Colossians 1:27) – Christ in you, the hope of glory!
Check out my new novel, “Convertible Conversations,” where you’ll be inspired by the characters as they relate to everyone in their lives…strangers, criminals, those who have wronged them, family, close friends and those in their grace community. ~Paul Gray