In my 24 years of being a Christian, I have experienced many times how discouraging and even painful at times it is when Christian brethren have not extended to me even a simple friendly greeting when our paths have happened to cross. I have often left such encounters wondering why so and so seems to greet many other people warmly but does not do so with me.
Recently, having had this happen to me again has brought back to my mind just how important it is that we as believers graciously greet another:
1Co 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.
2Co 13:12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.
Phi 4:21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.
1Th 5:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
Heb 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
1Pe 5:14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
3Jo 1:14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.
This repeated, authoritative biblical instruction makes clear that we all have a vital responsibility to greet one another graciously, especially in the context of a local church.
When we are disinclined to extend such a greeting to someone that we have known for some time, we should examine our thinking and consider why we do not wish to do so. Especially in situations of interpersonal conflict between brethren in a church, wariness of extending a greeting to another believer should signal to us further that our relationship with that fellow believer is not what God wants it to be and needs attention to restore proper fellowship among brethren.
I have failed many times myself to heed the vital scriptural instruction concerning greeting one another, and I am sure that the Lord wants to use my recent troubling experience to challenge me about my own need in this area. By His grace, I desire and purpose to strive to display this Christian grace more faithfully in the days to come.
May the Lord help us all to build up one another by greeting one another graciously, as we ought.