Sincerity, or are you just going through the motions?

As Christians we are called to show respect and honor, to be just, to love, and to show consideration and compassion toward others as mentioned in the following scriptures. (Emphasis added)

Galatians 6:10:Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Romans 2:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

1 Peter 2:17:   “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

Philippians 2:4; “Let each of you look not only to his own interest but also to the interest of others.”

1 Corinthians 16:14; “Let all that you do be done in love.”

Do you follow the above commands? Do I? No, I often fall short and do not honor Jesus’ request in that manner. However, I am trying to fix that. As I learn more of what is expected of me by my Savior, I am slowly doing better. And then, there are the lessons I learn along the way that help me grow.

OK, now where I am going with this thought? When I (we) meet a stranger or even someone we know we may automatically ask “How are you?” or “What’s going on?” without thinking or often even without waiting for an answer. The question is a force of habit and are we really looking for a true answer?

After the question is asked, then most often comes the stock answer, “I’m fine” or “Things are great.” Again, the stock answer is given automatically without any thought or desire, to tell the truth. The reason? Many people don’t really care how we are doing, they are just asking to be polite, and that is what we always say when we meet somebody and it starts off the small talk. We may not be really interested in telling them how we actually feel or what is going on in our lives anyway.

Basically, that’s the truth and we don’t give it a second thought. This attitude fits in with the new normal. People are too busy to hear the details, they have things to do or they want to get on to tell their story and besides we can read about what is really going on via facebook, instagram, twitter or some other form of social media. I don’t know about you, but I could be convicted of the above sins in the past and I am not proud of it but prayerfully I am changing and being more genuine.

Why am I bringing this up? Is the action and reaction important enough to think about? Does it really make a difference if the people asking “How you are?” are sincere and is it important if we lie and respond, “Doing fine?”

According to Scripture, it is. Christians are to be honest. The person asking and the person answering have a responsibility to be honest, caring, compassionate, and considerate to each other. Besides, telling lies and being inconsiderate is a sin. And if we get use to telling “little” lies, that sets the stage for us to get use to it and then we tell more and more lies and think nothing of it and even rationalize our lying.

I have often thought about how insincere I have been in the past when asking people how they are. I am putting forth the effort to change (praying and being thoughtful) that attitude. I don’t ask that question as much anymore unless I am ready to truly listen to what people have to say in response.

Most of my articles are written in response to something that has happened to me or to thoughts I have been pondering in my mind. This article is no different. It comes from personal experience.

The past few years I have been inundated with back pain and surgeries. Now I have an additional medical dilemma that is causing me concern. While I was at church the other day a friend asked how I was feeling (and was honestly concerned) and as I started to tell her about my medical issue a lady standing next to her interrupted and started telling about a similar problem she is having! She took over the conversation and it was totally about her.

After the service, another friend asked how I was and again I started to relate my illness and ask for prayer. When I got to the part where I told of my illness my friend said “Oh, I have had a similar problem” and proceeded to tell me his issues and nothing more was said by me. And these two instances were from fellow Christians!  Sadly, this type of thing happens often.

I must admit that the inconsideration showed to me both bothered me and got my attention. I was hurt by the disrespect I was shown, and then convicted by the thought “How often have I done the same thing to others?”

With all these thoughts in mind and conviction from the Holy Spirit, I am striving to continually become a new creation as I grow in my faith and my walk with the Lord. I am making it a point to be respectful, considerate and compassionate to others especially when I ask, “How are you?”  I WILL sincerely listen.

Something for you to consider,

His student,  Dennis

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