Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's in a "hello"?


How do you greet people? I struggle with this. When I write an email to a customer, do I use their surname and "Dear" or address them by the first name with "Hi". What is the right balance between respect and friendliness?

Paul greets the people in the church at Galatia with a prayer.
"I pray that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!  Christ obeyed God our Father and gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins to rescue us from this evil world.  God will be given glory forever and ever. Amen." Ga. 1:3-5

 Imagine that - "Dear Michael, I'm praying that God ..." It's kinda cool. Who doesn't want to be prayed for or blessed? Who wouldn't want God to be kind to them and bless them with peace?

The tough part of Paul's greeting and prayer is his specificity (the spell checker didn't highlight it, so it must be a real word, yeah!) He prays that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to them. He goes further and makes sure that they know which Jesus He is talking about - the one who obeyed God our Father and gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins to rescue us from this evil world - that Jesus. Paul was specific because the Galatians were struggling with some fuzzy thinking about who Jesus was. Some false teachers had confused them, so he starts out in his prayer - by being very clear as to who Jesus is.

Does this mean that a generic prayer is wrong? Am I compromising the gospel if I pray for someone and don't mention the cross and salvation? Is is okay just to pray for people and ask God and Jesus to be kind to them and give them peace?

Of course it is. No one wants to be force fed the gospel, especially when you haven't established a relationship or credibility, but praying for people are asking if you can pray for people is a very nice and appropriate way to show Christian love. Of course, you need to follow through and really pray for them.

How do you say "hello"? Even if you don't vocalize it, when you meet someone why not whisper a prayer to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ asking "God, Please be kind to _________ and give them peace." It might change the way you relate to people.