On Saturday my wife and went to an Irish Restaurant for breakfast. As we were waiting to be served, a father and his son came in and sat behind us. We learned, through their conversation, that it was the boy’s birthday and he had just turned 10. Soon, a waiter came over to take their order. The little boy immediately greeted the waiter and his dad followed. I looked at my wife and commented about how encouraging it was to hear this little boy take the initiate to greet the waiter. These days it is becoming so rare to see children behave this way. After breakfast, I interrupted this father-son duo to tell the father how impressed we were that his son took the time to greet.
A simple greeting goes a long way. A greeting, as you may know is a polite word or sign of welcome or recognition. In the case of this little boy’s greeting it meant a recognition of the waiter. However, the opposite is true when no greeting takes place. In other words there is the misrecognition of persons, a way of ignoring the other, of treating a person as a thing rather than a fellow human person who is created in the image of God, a process in which we fail to recognize the others’ differences.
Misrecognition means that there is a failing in my approach to the other, my self-understanding as well as my stance towards another person. The biblical text states that all of us are created in the image of God and this should cause us to treat all others with respect and dignity. Imagine if we took the text in Philippians 2:3 seriously where Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” Does ideology, economics, cultural and societal norm override a biblical injunction?
God bless as you ponder on these thoughts.