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Have you ever been squeamish? When I’ve traveled to foreign countries, I’ve been reluctant to eat everything the locals eat. Sometimes, it was the sea food. I just didn’t recognize what it was. It didn’t look like fish or shrimp. At other times, I recognized things all too well, like chicken heads and feet cooked with all the other meat.
Social customs different from mine also make me squeamish. I grew up in the Great Plains section of the United States. People tend to be stoic. So when I hear some bible verses, I get squeamish. One such verse is 1 Peter 5:14 “Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” (NIV 1984)
Did you know that five times in the New Testament we are told to greet each other with a holy kiss? Does that make you reluctant? Well, relax. Here’s what I’ve learned. In the culture of that day, men greeted male relatives or friends with a kiss on one or both cheeks. Women greeted women in the same way. It was the socially acceptable way to show affection for family and friends. Today we shake hands and hug.
So, why all this focus on the holy kiss? If we are going to develop brotherly kindness, we need to learn to greet each other with warmth and affection.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.