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Greeting Each Other: The Most Basic Expression of Love

Our children are watching how we interact at church. Over the years, I have noticed that some Christians have not mastered the most basic form of love: greeting one another.
 
The simple act of greeting is seen by some as optional. But Christians are commanded in God’s word by precept and example to express love to one another in the most basic of ways.
 
A quick survey of the New Testament reveals that we are commanded by God to:

  • Greet one another with a holy kiss. (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12)
  • Greet one another with a kiss of love. (1 Peter 5:4)
  • Greet the friends there by name. (3 John 14)
  • Greet all your leaders and all of God’s people. (Hebrews 13:24)
  • Greet not just our brothers but our enemies. (Matthew 5:47)

 
Besides these individual commands to the believers, Paul “wastes” a whole chapter of the Bible (Romans 16) greeting different ones by name. In fact a quick survey of the New Testament reveals 28 times specific ones are greeted or told to greet. Greeting is that important.
 
Why Don’t We?
With this command so prominent in the New Testament, why do some Christians have problems greeting one another?

  • Lack of information or training – Some Christians are ignorant that this basic expression of love is so important. 
  • Lack of effort – Some Christians don’t want to make the effort to greet because greeting would lead naturally to asking questions and getting to know others. Another word for this is laziness.
  • Fear – Those who are not confident will often not take the initiative to seek out others.
  • Lack of Love – At the most basic level, the cause is a lack of love. As we have seen, love will greet one another.

 
Applications
How should we apply this?
1. Take time before and after the service to greet one another. Especially greet people you don’t know and first-time visitors.
2. Greet people as warmly as you feel comfortable. Shake hands, give a hug,
3. Train your children to express themselves by greeting adults. Don’t excuse them for being “shy.” Train them not to ignore another adult but to greet them with a “Hello, Mr. Smith. How are you today?”
4. Husbands and wives should greet each other at the beginning of the day and when one of them comes home to the other. What a difference a cheerful, “Good morning!” makes to the start of the day.
5. Children should greet parents when they return from a long day of work or travel.  If the father works outside the home, saying “Hey Dad!” when he returns is just basic manners.
 
Greeting each other is a most basic expression of love. We are even to greet our enemies! How are we doing?