So often we get to the end of a day and realize that we have not truly engaged with anyone on a level deeper than a nod. How often have you been asked, “How are you?” and your response was, “Fine.”? Maybe you added, “How are you?” and you got the response, “Doing well.” Neither you nor the other person actually expected anything different. In most cases, we wouldn’t have had or desire to actually learn just how someone was doing. One of the criticisms of the technological generation is that their virtual connections are shallow. One might ask if this type of face-to-face communication we participate in every day is any better.
In many cultures, greetings and leave-takings are of much greater importance. For instance, if we were in a Zulu-speaking area of southern Africa we would be greeted with the word sawubona. Sawubona, which literally means “we see you,” carries with it a deeper understanding – we know you… we understand and respect you… you have meaning for us.
What if we were to commit to live sawubona lives each day? What if we were to greet and treat each person we met with a deeper commitment to actually know and understand them, relate to them, and engage them where they are? How would that change their day? How would that change our day?
An interesting fact about Jesus’ life is that though he was God in human form, people did not feel judged by him. They flocked to him. Mobbed him. He was considered “a friend of sinners.” In fact, the only people who felt uneasy around Jesus were the religious people because he didn’t fit into the religious patterns they had set up… the patterns that they thought defined being godlike.
What made the difference? Could it have been that Jesus actually took the time to live out sawubona in his relationships? Though that word didn’t exist at that time, a similar Hebrew word did – שָׁלוֹם or shalom. Shalom carries with it a wish for peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare, and tranquility for the person greeted.
In what ways would your relationships change if you made choices based on wanting shalom for the other person?
Our passion in One Challenge is to see entire nations transformed. Nations are transformed as the people in that nation are transformed. People can transform to the likeness of Jesus as they are shown the likeness of Jesus. Living lives of sawubona and shalom can be the first step toward that transformation.
Be the change you want to see in the world around you.