“Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.”
with a kiss of love
The kiss of greeting was a display of Christian kinship (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26). This kiss took the Christian beyond a formal greeting. The Christian community included both slaves and freemen. A Christian kiss demonstrated oneness in Christ between them. This dispelled prejudices that arose from social distinctions. There is no condescension or lack of respect when one extends this kind of greeting.
The Christian kiss signified a familial friendship among members of the household of faith. It was a special greeting and sign of special affection and appreciation. But before we run out and grab all the young girls or handsome men in the congregation, we need to understand the purpose of this greeting. This greeting was in no way erotic. It was comparable to a warm handshake in our day. Today a kiss implies much more than a greeting.
Generally, the kiss took place between members of the same sex. It was the custom of people for men to kiss men and women to kiss women in that culture. We still see women kissing women today, but few men kiss each other in our culture. I, for one, am glad the custom has changed!
We need to focus on others, even in times of suffering.
There is a tendency for those who hurt to become self-absorbed. You can almost hear them say, “Why should I care about others when I have my own problems with deal with?” Suffering too often robs us of compassion toward others.
The Christian life is a family affair. We should face suffering together. We should be there for one another when the going gets tough. The worst thing we can do is to attack one another during times of duress. Do you hurt when others hurt?