How Are You?

September 7, 2019
by Vincent Walter

2 Corinthians 13:12 – Greet one another with a holy kiss. (NIV)

There are many ways that we greet other people, but perhaps this biblical greeting is not the most usual!

A common way of greeting another person is to inquire about their physical state. Equally important, however, is their mental or emotional state. Perhaps the biblical greeting is based upon the most important aspect: the spiritual state of the other person.

"Hello" with a handshake is customary, but probably the most widely-used greeting is "How are you?" or variations thereof, such as "How is it going?" or "How are you feeling?"

Recently, I have been having some physical challenges. Fortunately, they do not show, but I am frequently asked how I am. I have experimented with responses to this greeting, such as making a comment about another less difficult subject — the weather, for example. In the majority of cases, the questioner has followed on with some comment about the state of the weather.

It has led me to believe that if we are asking this question, we should be sincere, sensitive, and most importantly, supportive.

Firstly, if the question, "How are you?" is insincere, we could well be doing more harm than good. Willingness to divert the conversation indicates that we are not sincere. Sometimes, the words used in response depend upon how the question is asked.

Secondly, we should be sensitive. Half a century ago, I joined a major corporation. My first manager was a little younger than I was, but he was very sensitive. In his first evaluation of my performance, he wrote, "He makes mistakes, but he knows how to correct them. He will go a long way with our company."

What I remember the most, however, was the day that he telephoned me to inquire as to how a project was going. I replied "fine". His response was "That bad, eh!"

We had developed such a good working relationship that he immediately moved past my word in response to recognize the real meaning. He was especially sensitive, and I was particularly appreciative of his sensitivity.

Probably the most important factor is the need to be supportive, if at all possible.

Recently, a neighbour asked me, "How are you?" and I gave an innocuous reply. The questioner persisted and pushed for a more detailed response. Before I could elaborate, the questioner said, "I really want to know. You should know that I pray for you every day!"

I responded, expressing sincere thanks for her prayers. I would not have considered this person a particularly religious person, but she certainly was sincere and sensitive, but especially supportive.

Greeting others is something that we do many times in a day. The challenge that we each have is to turn a common interaction into a meaningful one that is sincere, sensitive, and supportive, especially when it relates to another's physical, mental, and spiritual health. Perhaps it might even be appropriate to seal it with a kiss!

Prayer: Dear Father, help us to follow the example that Jesus has given us in the everyday things of life. May we show Your love to others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Vincent Walter <vwalter@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the challenge, Vincent.


    Thanks, Vincent, for this thought-provoking devotional.


    Another great devotional Vincent! Food for thought!
    Blessings.


    Thank you, Vincent, for moving beyond the superficial to examine the core of relationships, especially the spiritual ones. Sincere wishes for abundant blessings for you. In Christ Jesus.


    Dear Vince,
    Thank you for another touching and important devotional. When we greet someone and enquiring how they are doing, sincerity is key. That is how our loving Lord would be.
    Blessings as you continue to share devotionals.
    (B.C.)


    Perhaps you play the game I often do, which is guessing who wrote the devotional before seeing the name at the end. I was quite sure this was you, because of your own sensitivity and caring for others. You can tell your neighbour that the delight I find in reading your words means her prayers are definitely answered from me. Thanks, Vincent.


    Dear Mr. Walter,
    If you kiss a person who is inquiring about your health, the person might not appreciate the kiss very much for he or she might fear that you have a contagious ailment.
    I pray for God’s blessings upon you in your health concern, contagious or not.
    Keep writing.


    Dear Vincent,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns. You make many valid points and it is true that we need to be sensitive to others. I also feel that if the person answers with something different, you could be sensitive by following that person’s lead because they don’t want to talk about how they are truly feeling. I think it is a fine line on which way to go and depending on how well you know that person. Definitely we want to be supportive when we can be. I appreciate your honest and openness to the question “How are you?” I hope your physical challenges are lessening and you are feeling better. I very much enjoy your devotionals. May you feel the support of Jesus and others.


    Dear Vincent:
    Thank you for this wonderful devotional you wrote. I couldn’t agree more. It can be hurtful when people ask how I am and when I speak with truth, the look in their eyes says it all. They can’t wait to escape.
    I have found, unfortunately, that these feelings can lead to lack of trust in me.
    When I ask how someone is, I really mean it. My prayer book is filling up with names I talk to the Lord about and ask for His healing for them.
    Now, I am asking you Walter, how are you? I can ask the Lord for you.
    May God bless you and keep you safe,


    My friend Vincent,
    I enjoy your writing so much, this morning’s reminded me of times when people ask me “How are you?”
    I lost my husband just over a year ago. I am an old lady nearly 90.
    Every Sunday, when I go to church, many people ask me that question, and not waiting for an answer, they simply keep walking….
    I enjoy having fun, so when such a body asks… I say, ” I died last night” The reaction comes after they have walked about seven steps. ” What did you say?”
    I do have very many friends in my church, and they do ask and stop to chat.
    So, thank you for your devotions, they do give my days a great start.
    Blessings.


    I totally understand. I had a stroke recently and am in my mid 80’s. I get around with a walker in our unit and if we want to go too far my husband helps with a wheelchair. I do not like using the wheelchair as anybody who does not know me treats me like my brain is gone. I have much to be thankful for mainly that I am not left half brain dead. Sometimes I go to church and when I do not go, they ask my husband how I am. Many older ones at our church must have the same problem. We say: well I got here.
    So yes, saying fine to one who really cares is not enough but so many have their own problems that we cannot see that I do not like to bother people with mine.
    Good luck.
    (ON)


    Hello Vincent
    This is a very interesting devotional. It is amazing how many times we hear the question, how are you and notice before our answer is out, they have passed on by. It is such a commonly used question I think a lot of the time it is just asked because it is just the way it is. When the question is sincere it is meaningful, and you just feel like they really want to know. We did this as a quick lesson one time in college, and someone would ask, and the answer would fine thanks and that went on a few times and then 2 more students would do the same only the answer was not good, but the response was oh that’s good and kept ongoing. They showed people ask usually out of habit but do not listen or care for the answer. I hope this makes sense how I am explaining this. Sad.
    Well, I truly hope you are doing better with your health challenges and you will have a great weekend. God bless you!!!

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