How many times a day do you say to someone “how are you today?” How many of those times do you actually care?
The phrase has become just another standard greeting that means nothing more than “hello” which makes it deceiving. There is a lot more meaning in those four little words; meaning which is greatly ignored today. Because this phrase has become so common we typically give a common response, nod your head and say “I’m good,” if you give a response at all.
The other day i was at church, busy filling out something, when my pastor passed by and asked how I was doing. Thinking it was just the typical question everyone asked I just nodded and continued on doing what I was doing, only to turn and see that my pastor had stopped and was actually waiting for an answer. He also seemed to show true concern for how I was doing, not just giving a careless, in-passing greeting.
I was so caught off guard by this strange behavior that I just said I was doing good; I didn’t really have a response to give. But this stuck with me for weeks.
It is not often that we meet someone who is genuinely concerned with how we are doing, especially people we do not normally interact with.
Next time you pass by someone and want to say hi, think about what you are actually saying. Do you really care to hear how that person is doing? If they said not well, would you be willing to stop and pray for them and talk with them even when you are busy?
Caring for those around us is one of the things that is supposed to set Christians apart from others. John 13:35 says that “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” What better way to share that love with someone than to show that you care about them with this simple question?
So many people today feign interest in each other by asking this simple question, putting on the mask of caring but behind that mask they do not care at all. This presents Christians with a very easy and profound way to share the love of Christ with others.
Next time you pass by somebody in the hallway, do not just give a passing “Hey, how are you,” actually say it like you mean it. Make eye contact, I know it is scary, but the person will not bite, usually.
Make eye contact and keep that contact until they answer, let them know with your body language that really are interested in hearing about how that person is doing.
But don’t fake it
If you do not feel like listening to a person open up with what they are going through then do not ask the question. Do not be the fake that so many others are, only pretending to care when you really don’t. Instead just say “Hello” or “Good morning” or something that is neutral.
There is nothing wrong with this neutral greeting. It may not be as friendly but at least you are being honest with the question and not just pretending. We do not always have time to listen to others, sadly, but when you ask the question “how are you” make sure you mean it and that the person you are asking knows you mean it.
What if they do not care?
Are you afraid your efforts to show that you care will go unnoticed? Trust me, they won’t. I am sure that my pastor thought I didn’t notice much when I was caught off guard and just gave the typical answer, but months later that moment still stays strong in my mind.
But even if they never show that appreciation, just take comfort in the fact that you are sharing God’s love, you are serving Him by caring for others, even if they reject you.
You never know how much this one little statement, with sincerity behind it, may brighten a person’s entire day. It may even give you the opportunity to share the gospel with them.
Next time my pastor, Pastor Eric Cartier, asks how I am doing, I will make sure I give him a real answer.