In the last two posts, we discussed the privilege we have of “one another”. Though following the Biblical commands for many of those “one anothers” may take work and time, one that takes very little of either, is greeting. Greeting one another.

Several years ago, I heard a story about people who wanted to learn more about each other’s languages. A Tibetan boy taught the English speakers the greeting for “hello”.

Tashi deley,” he said, “means recognizing the greatness in another person”. “Tashi Deley. I honor the greatness in you.”

Next the English speaker shared the word, “hello”.

The boy asked, “What does it mean? Does it mean to honor the greatness in one another?”

The English speaker replied, “No, it doesn’t. It just means ‘hello’”.

We are all valuable because we are image bearers of God, yet how does our casual greeting-or ignoring someone-communicate that truth? “Another” may not look like us, dress like us, or have the same cultural background, or world view. Their speech and language may be different from ours. 

In Max Lucado’s book, How Happiness Happens, he writes “We have been created equal, but have not been created alike.” The apostle Paul says, “Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7)

Accept doesn’t mean agree or coexist. It means welcome.

Lucado reminds us “Happiness happens when you show other people they matter”. Tashei delay—I honor that they matter.

In Romans 16:1–16, Paul lists by name, people and groups he wants his readers to greet for him in Rome. Paul gives the ultimate model of greeting one another-of welcoming and accepting- not by an exclusive “who’s’ who” clique, but a variety–close friends, slaves, royals, and church members. And he concludes with an encouragement for them to greet each other with a holy kiss. This idea may seem foreign to most of you, unless you are a “hugger” or come from an ethnic background like mine where kissing and greeting is a normal expression.  A kiss on each cheek was a customary way of greeting in that culture. Yes, it’s close and personal—face to face and hard to be rude in that situation, isn’t it? It’s welcoming and accepting–and honoring.

We’re not about to kiss a cashier or a stranger, but the model is there. Honor another’s greatness. How can we do that practically?

Instead of playing a game or texting a person on a phone screen who is not present, can we choose to interact with those seated in the room with us? Acknowledge they are there-not invisible. Can you enter a room and think “There you are”, not “Here am I” and greet someone with a smile? Or introduce yourself to another in a group and ask their name? Or that cashier. Say their name. You may be the very person to pull someone up who’s having a bad day. My experience is each time I do that, I pull myself up and happiness happens because I have joy.

Will you take the challenge? Share how it went with us.

Well into the first semester, here are 15 Timely Thoughts to Encourage College Freshmen

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