Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:2, NIV) This is a very simple greeting, but as is so often true, the simple is sometimes the most profound.
Author Linda Olsson said, “It’s often about the simple things, isn’t it? Painting and photography are first about seeing, they say. Writing is about observing. Technique is secondary. Sometimes the simple is the most difficult.” We live in such a complex world, but at the root of all complexity is simplicity, so maybe it makes sense to take the world’s problems and address them at a very simple level.
Consider the act of greeting one another. In everyday conversational exchanges, we say “Hi! What’s up? How are you? Hello there!” or as Joey Tribbiani (from “Friends”) would say, “How YOU doin’?” And while friendly enough, these greetings don’t really carry the same love or impact that saying “Grace and Peace to you, my friend’ would carry.
What if you did something simple, and greeted everyone with “Grace and Peace to you”, and meant it? Would it change anyone’s day? Would it change YOUR day? It would certainly make people think…and it might make YOU think.
First of all, it assumes you know about Grace, and that you wish it upon your fellow man. What if you really felt that way? What if EVERYONE really felt that way? Wouldn’t we all be in an amazing place if everyone had the goodwill and the passion to wish grace upon the world?
The second part of the greeting has just as much potential: “Peace to you”.
How would being peaceful change the world? The Baby Boomers flashed the peace sign and protested war, but did it really change anything? I think Paul is referring here to the personal inner kind rather than world peace, but if you think about it, if everyone found peace perhaps the world would as well. But how many people do you know who are both graceful and forgiving? How many people do you encounter who would benefit from being both MORE graceful and MORE forgiving?
We live in the Polar Age, where people divide into opposing social groups, political parties, divergent agendas, and critical camps. It’s Conservatives versus Liberals, Whites versus Blacks, Haves versus have-nots, Straights versus Gays, what I want versus what everyone else wants… No matter where you are in any of those polar opposites, could you sincerely wish the other side “Grace and Peace”? What would happen if you DID? In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” If He was generous enough to leave us His Peace, the least we could do is share it with each other.
In a world of polar hate, Full of insult and debate, Could we try another way? To simply and sincerely say, "Grace and Peace, my Friend, to YOU. Easy to say, but hard to DO... We can change our attitude, give "peace" and not be misconstrued, Have dialog and not be rude, and keep from being lewd or crude! No more insults to be hurled: Change your greeting, change the world!
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