May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. (Philippians 1:2 NLT)
Have you ever stopped to consider the kind of testimony conveyed by your “greeting”? As believers in Christ we have daily opportunities to exhibit the love of Jesus by the way we greet those we meet. A warm greeting and pleasant smile go a long way to establish a friendly relationship. On the other hand, a frown and grouchy appearance will turn people away. It’s amazing how many different types of greetings are used in other cultures around the world. Here are just a few that I found on the internet:
· Greece – back-slapping instead of shaking hands.
· Grenada – tap clenched fists.
· Maldova – men might kiss a lady’s hand, while saying, “I kiss your hand.”
· Maori – press noses together while keeping the eyes closed.
· Bangladesh – relaxed salute with right hand.
· Benin – snap fingers while shaking hands.
· Gabon – shaking a person’s hand with both your hands.
· Niger – the Kanovri people shake a fist at head level and call “Wooshay, Wooshay,” (Hello, hello)
One of the activities we do with young people at the Discovery Center at Wycliffe USA is called the “Babel Game.” We divide the kids into small groups and ask them to make up their own language and gesture to convey a greeting. They are not allowed to use English or a known language. Once they have invented a language we turn them loose to try and teach it to one of the other groups. This gives them a feel for what Bible translators go through and shows them what it is like to get out of their “comfort zone.”
The Apostle Paul greeted his churches with joy assuring them of his prayers. His greetings brought encouragement, exhortation, and hope. No matter how disappointed he might have been with functions within the church, he portrayed a positive attitude towards them.
Isn’t that how the Lord wants us to greet those we meet? There’s an old adage that says it takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile. Although it is doubtful that those numbers are correct, the point is that a happy warm looking smile goes a long way to create a good impression and generate a pleasant response from the other party.
Let’s remember to greet others with a smile and uplifting words that radiates the love of Jesus, and opens the door for further sharing of the gospel.