|Some people are raised ‘huggers’. I used to call them ‘the huggies’ as a kid. I cannot think of many things I dreaded more than the greetings which were expected of me when I went to family gatherings. I despised those crazy hug fests so much I would hide under the porch in the dirt and the dust just to avoid the ‘hugger’ part of the family. I was pretty slick because I would have it all timed to the minute. As soon as I knew the hugs were out of the way, I would sneak out from beneath the porch and make my entrance through the back door.
I am definitely not saying that was the best way to handle my childhood distaste of hugs, but everyone is different. Each family has their own way of doing things, and there is nothing wrong with hugging. In fact, to some families it is an insult not to greet each other with a hug. Not to worry, in the body of Christ there is hope even for the ‘huggers’.
Greetings are one miniscule example of how the whole world has different customs and unique ways of doing everyday things. Even conversationally, people from the same town communicate in various ways. Some are very forthright with speaking their thoughts, and others are incredibly soft-spoken. Because each human being was created with a unique personality, people do not always mesh well. It is easy to become offended and oversensitive.
God’s Word shares that we as Believers need to have unity, especially within the church. The most beautiful thing on earth is to see a unified, peaceful congregation. Scripture says we are all filled with goodness and knowledge from God. That means that we are all capable of finding the goodness in others. Sadly, I have lost many people over hurt feelings and differences. However, no matter how we were raised, we can each do our part toward making unity possible. It just takes a little patience and flexibility.
With all of this potential for misunderstanding and irritation, how can you get along with other church members year after year? Purpose in your heart to look for the goodness in others, even when you are frustrated. Pray about misunderstandings, and try to repair relationships. Be a peace maker. By keeping your mind filled with the things of Christ, the Holy Spirit will help you overcome your struggles with other people. When someone offends you, remember, NO ONE is perfect-not even you.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder