Maybe it’s just me, but I have this problem with people who know me—but walk right past me without even bothering to say hello. Like I wasn’t even there.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m secure enough within myself, with or without other people’s recognition. And I can make allowances for someone simply being preoccupied for the moment. It happens. And honestly, I’m not angry with them; but I must say I’m disappointed. I just expect more than that from my friends—especially my spiritual family.
To begin with, I really believe we owe each other more than that.
In fact, we’re commanded to do more than that.
“Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (Rom. 16:16; also I Cor. 16:20; II Cor. 13:12; I Thess. 5:26)
If we make allowances for cultural differences, we at least come away with a scriptural directive to greet each other in a warm (even affectionate) manner—whenever we meet.
I’m not into kissing guys either. (So relax!) But a handshake—a high five—a playful punch, or elbow—or even an occasional hug are all within the acceptable range of greetings among brothers. (I probably wouldn’t try to punch my sisters, but anything else . . . )
At the very least, I need to acknowledge your presence with a friendly smile, a nod, a hello . . . you get the idea.
This will accomplish several important objectives.
First, it forces me to get beyond myself. There really are other people on the street. Or in the room. Or in the hallway. In fact, everywhere I look—there they are! It’s amazing.
And by the way, why are we so uncomfortable with other people on elevators? Just thinkin’ . . .
Second, it validates the worth of that other person. Without saying a word, my eye contact, my smile, my wink (ok, maybe that’s just me) can say plenty. It says, I see you, and I’m glad you’re here. Sometimes that’s all we need.
Third, it helps create a climate of warmth and mutual support. It’s a team building exercise. And we really are all on the same team. I need to feel that I’m not walking in isolation. On my left and on my right, there are brothers and sisters who are connected with me on a deep level. Spiritually. Emotionally. Mentally. And for that brief moment when you grasp my hand, physically. That’s important.
Finally, it creates an occasion for further ministry—if necessary.
No, we don’t have time to stop and pray with everyone we meet everywhere we go. But sometimes we do need to stop—and pay attention. And listen. And discern. And respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
And it all begins with looking at the other person, and smiling . . . and . . . (cf. Acts 3:4)
I believe we have a God given responsibility to make every room we enter just a little brighter—every heart we encounter just a little lighter . . . I’m serious. I’m smiling—but I’m serious.
Note to self: Remember to smile and say hello to people you meet.