I just overheard two apparent strangers in a parking lot have the following conversation as they were passing each other.
“How are you doing?”
“Doing fine. How are you?”
They said a few words … and yet they said nothing at all. It had the appearance of relationship but was completely devoid of it.
If you don’t believe me, then the next time someone asks you how you’re doing as you pass in the parking lot or hallway, stop and say: “Actually, today has stunk. Can I tell you about it?”
Almost certainly their body language will clearly state that they really did not care to know how you were doing. They only wanted to give the appearance that they cared.
This world can be a lonely, difficult place. There are far too many people that are struggling and craving to know that someone else really cares about them.
Jesus-follower, if we are serious about following Jesus, it will mean that we will treat people like he did. We will care for people like he did. It’s not just appearance, it’s the real deal.
Quit filling your conversations primarily with talk about yourself. See the other person as an individual with intrinsic value and talk to them … about them. Ask them questions about themselves. Look for ways to encourage them and affirm them.
While it is culturally appropriate to ask how people are doing as we pass, check your heart to make sure that you genuinely care.
We can say that we love our neighbor as we love ourselves – but the true determiner is what fills our conversations and our hearts. They testify as to whether we care … or we are just giving the appearance that we care.