I saw this quote in a publication I just got in the mail about an hour ago. Thought it was worth contemplating.
"Loving our enemy includes those who are hard to love, whether a hostile stranger or a bad-tempered spouse. And therefore the ways of love that Jesus demands are as varied as self-sacrifice at the one end of the spectrum and a simple greeting at the other end. It is remarkable that in the context of enemy-love Jesus says something as ordinary as, 'If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?' (Matt. 5:47). People concerned with global suffering and international injustices might think this is ridiculously individualistic and insignificant. Greetings? Does it really matter in a world like ours whom we say hello to on the street? Jesus knows that the true condition of our heart is revealed not just by the global causes we espouse, but by the daily acts of courtesy we show. Relentlessly he pursues the transformation of our hearts, not just the alteration of our social agendas."
-- John Piper, What Jesus Demands of the World
Now we are moving on to Matthew 7 where in verse 12 Jesus sums up the Law and the Prophets with, "so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you."
Seems simple enough. If you want others to treat you with courtesy, show courtesy to them. If you want others to be kind and understanding and give you the benefit of the doubt, do the same for them. Who knew that greeting others - strangers or brothers, outcasts or friends - could be such a big deal?
Have you ever been roaming around a workplace or university and notice how people want to send their cordial greetings to the bosses or professors, deans and presidents? I wonder if those same people also greet the hardworking black janitor mopping the floor or the Mexican lady cleaning toilets in similar fashion. Do we tend to greet those whom seem important to us while ignoring those cleaning behind us?
I wonder how Jesus would have acted in this work or college setting. Remember according to him, the greatest among us is the one who serves, not the one who is being served.
Can you think of examples in your own life of people reaching out to only the rich or important while ignoring the poor and common folks? Or maybe you have seen people who reach out to all types with no regard to their stations in life? What are some areas you wish people would shape up and be more understanding and kind? Any other examples or thoughts on this topic? What do you think of John Piper's quote and the significance of greetings? Do you agree or disagree with him?