Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 5:47’


WavingAnd if you only greet your friends, how is this different from anyone else?  Even the people who do not care about doing right do that much.–Matthew 5:47

Anyone can bless another person.  We do it all the time.  Most of the time we are completely unaware of it.  It happens when we greet each other.  In fact, it seems that the greetings we give are the simplest forms of blessing.  Think about it.  There are the many phrases that we use, like “Have a good day!,” which is Bonjour in French or Buenas Dias in Spanish, or Guten Tag in German.  Some of our greetings even have blessings from God.  In German it is Grüß Gott (Greet God) or in parts of Ireland and Scotland it is Dia dhuit (God with you).  It is from a simple greeting of blessing that the English get the phrase, Goodbye, an eventual contraction of God be with ye.  Does Goodbye have the same connotation as the French adieu, Spanish adiós, Italian addio and Portuguese adeus (To God)?  There are some cultures that offer a greeting of peace, like Salaam, Shalom, or Aloha.  It is so common throughout our world to bless another person in the Name of God, even if we mean to do it or not.  Everyone greets everyone, right?

Jesus seems to explain that this is not always the case.  And if I search my heart long enough, I know it to be true as well.  There are plenty of times when I do not want to be friendly to the late night grocery store cashier or the tactless emergency room nurse or the during dinner phone solicitor.  I have no desire to give well wishes to these individuals.  They are not my ‘friends,’ to quote Jesus above.  They are not invited to my house.  I do not want to be their friend and I do not want them to be mine.  And they are not going to receive from me the simplest, cultural greeting as a blessing.  What’s funny is that I am not even talking about those individuals who may be my enemies, those people who I avoid like herpes.  Can they get a greeting from me?  Forget it.

This verse gets to the heart of Jesus’ message.  For dozens of verses now, he has been explaining the importance of other people.  (It is almost the very end of the chapter–One more verse!)  He wants his followers to worry about others, care about them, be honest with them, treat them not like objects, give them the very shirt off of your back, etc.  And now Christ explains that we need to open our mouths and at least do the very least: greet all people.  God calls us to say, “Hello,” to strangers.  God wants us to say, “Goodbye.”

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