Grace and peace to you
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:2

What a wonderful way to greet someone!  So much richer than “Yo!” or “Hey!”  But how would that kind of a greeting be received in today’s culture?  Probably with strange looks!

I wonder if Paul greeted people like that in person, or just in letters.  In person, it seems like it would be too wordy, unless maybe he was addressing a group of people.  But for individual friends, a simple “hello” with a tone of voice that expresses joy in seeing that person is probably more like it.

How do we feel when someone greets us like they are really glad to see us?  Valued? Special? Appreciated?  I know I do.

Being aware of my tone of voice – and controlling it – has been a long struggle for me.  For a long time, I wasn’t even aware of it.  One day, a long time ago, a good friend said, “Did you see how what you said affected your husband?”  I hadn’t … at all!  I had been critical and hurtful without even realizing how it put him down.  That was the beginning of the journey, and, like I said, that was a long time ago.  It’s getting better, unless I’m really annoyed with someone.  I have no where near arrived in that department.

But just as important as watching my tone when irritated – in my humble opinion – is the other end of the spectrum.  Does my voice really show joy and pleasure when I greet someone?  Do I make them feel wanted and valued?  Am I glad to see them?  Or am I bothered?

And when they are talking, do I really listen to what they are saying?  Or am I looking for something to say back?

In today’s online world, there is really no “tone of voice” in our communications – except maybe ALL CAPS.  We can still be kind in our texts, not ripping each other apart because our opinions or beliefs are different.  But all this texting and emailing and posting can tend to stunt our social graces in talking to people in person.  I think that needs practice.  So, maybe give your friends a call.  Ask how they are doing?  Don’t just unload your issues on them.  Listen to what they say and how they say it.  Listen “between the lines.” Care.

That can make or break someone’s day.

So, today, I am glad you are here.  I wish only good things for you.  You don’t have to agree with everything I say, but I pray that you would know God’s grace and peace, which He gives liberally to those who ask and draw close enough to receive.

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