I recently went to a riverside baptism service held by one of the megachurches in our area. It was a gorgeous summer afternoon and I definitely felt the spirit movin’ over the water as I pulled into the parking lot. What I didn’t feel movin’ was the love. As I strolled through the crowd to find my family members, I was quite surprised by the pronounced lack of interaction from anyone to me. No one attempted to make eye contact, let alone a salutation, which I thought was very strange, especially from church folk!
I might have thought it was my imagination until I unfolded my lawn chair and asked the lady next to me if she minded that I plop down right beside her. “My goodness”, she exclaimed, “of course you can! I was beginning to think that I was invisible!!”
It was then that I realized that I was not the only one who felt this way. One by one, the newly baptized got up and shared their stories of love and acceptance. Some of the speakers were the very same people who had silently brushed past me less than an hour before. Now I’m not trying to be judgmental, but we all need to be aware of the basic rules of society. And we especially need to be aware of these rules if we claim any affiliation with Jesus.
Pay attention. Look at people who come your way. Open your mouth and smile and say words that form a greeting. Now I know this may be difficult for introverts, but I promise the more you do it the easier it becomes. Parents, teach your children how to greet other children and adults. I am amazed by how many kids say absolutely nothing when I greet them and their parents make no attempt to guide them through the process.
I learned how to meet people by watching my father. It comes as naturally to me as breathing. I could NOT walk by someone and not smile and say hello. It’d be like walking past a Major General without saluting. The art of salutation is becoming lost; the most basic human interaction of giving someone a smile and looking them in the eye. This is a darn shame on many different levels.
If only people understood the transformational power of a smile. I once got selected for a key position for which I was underqualified because of my ability to enthusiastically interact with people. No matter how healthy, wealthy or wise you become, if you don’t have the skills of common courtesy, the only thing people will remember is that you’re a horse’s arse. After all, people don’t care what you know until they know you care, and the only thing they’ll ever remember about you is how you made them feel.