Throughout my life I’ve lived in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and California. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit numerous states across the country. The different cultures of the various places fascinate me.
It is because of this fascination that a particular cultural practice here in South Texas has caught my attention. This practice has to do with how we greet each other.
Now, before you hear what I’m talking about, you need to know that I take on traits of the people I surround myself with. For a while I lived next door to a friend of mine who was from Ireland. He had such a wonderful accent! Apparently, as I research my family origins, I have found out that I’m quite a bit Irish, so what happened when we lived next door to one another should not surprise me. The longer we lived by each other the thicker MY Irish accent became.
I have never lived or even visited Ireland, though I would like to go sometime. So the kids in my youth group and my peers at the seminary I was attending were pretty tickled that this native Texan was speaking with this accent.
Living in South Texas I have noticed the same thing happening with another pattern of speech. No, I haven’t picked up the southern drawl yet. But I have caught myself greeting others like a South Texan.
Notice, if you will, the pattern of greeting around here. Someone will walk up, and you may say, “How you doing?” The appropriate response doesn’t seem to be “Fine” or “OK”, it seems to be to repeat the phrase “How you doing?” back!
I am very surprised at this. I have seen greetings all my life that were very surface. People generally ask others “How you doing?” But in most cases they expect to hear a “fine” or some other surface answer. This concerns me because it shows how much we genuinely want to know about those around us.
I’m trying to stop this habit in my speech to others. I want to be like Jesus.
He probably asked others how they were doing, but He wasn’t just trying to be culturally polite. He actually wanted to know the real answer.
Think about it. How would you react if you greeted someone with “How you doing,” and they responded with “Oh, well, I’ve been better. You know my dog got hit by a car yesterday, and my wife and I are arguing. My daughter just called to say she’s living with her boyfriend and she’s pregnant. And, the school I work for just called to inform me that they don’t have enough funding to keep me on.”
That’s a bit more than you’d have been bargaining for.
Jesus interacted with people in a very genuine way. The reason He came to earth was to be invested in our lives. He was so invested in our lives that He eventually gave His life for us. Not in a superficial way. In a very real, brutal, completely committed way.
I want to be more genuine with others. If I ask you, “How you doing?” Please answer me genuinely, because I really want to be a listener and help you carry your burden. That’s what we are called to do. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
May you be genuinely concerned about those around you. May you show them the love of Christ through your everyday interactions. And may the world be changed one person at a time because you cared enough to mean the words, “Hey, how you doing?”
If there is ever anything I can do for you, please feel free to call me at 245-1611 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also look me up on Facebook. God bless you, have have a great weekend!