We’ve all heard the term “social distancing” so much over the past several weeks that I think it may actually become part of the permanent American vernacular. While I understand the need to physically distance ourselves from others for health reasons, for a Christian this action is counter-intuitive and counterculture to our character DNA. Personally, lately I’ve been going through HWS (Hug Withdrawal Syndrome) and I need a fix very soon! Seriously, during this challenging time our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and most people with whom we have contact are living with some level of fear. The last thing we need to do is silo ourselves from one another.
I believe that the antidote for “social distancing” is “social embracing” – a term I started using and sharing with others. Here are some ways you can socially embrace others. I praise God every day for giving wisdom and giftedness to the man who developed ZOOM. This is a most amazing way to see and interact with people without any geographical restrictions. If you haven’t yet done it, go to the Zoom website, sign up for a free account and give it a try. If old-fashioned is your cup of tea, go through your contacts and simply call others to just check on them. While you have them on the phone, ask if they have a prayer request and pray right then. You can also take a few minutes and send some hand-written notes.
At home, spend more time in discussion with your children. Many families are finding that the slower pace is allowing them time to communicate more. Years from now, you and your family will have the wonderful opportunity to reflect not on the specifics of world events but on the sweet time you had together and the richness of relationship.
I have a specific way of socially embracing in public – it’s called “Smile Ministry”. I must admit that until I’m told I have to do so I don’t wear a mask. A couple of years ago I got dentures and now have a killer smile – so I put it to good use. About three times per week I go to Publix to buy a few items; while walking through the store I smile at everyone. Often, I can see eyes begin to twinkle though their mouths are masked. Those that aren’t wearing masks sometimes smile back (for some it’s something that they haven’t done for a while and the face muscles hurt to do it!). I always tell those who are working how much I appreciate their service – the response is always a smiley “thank you”.
The bottom line is discover and explore ways that as Christians we can still be salt and light, reflecting Jesus, during a time that restricts personal contact. Give “social embracing” a try today!
About the Author
Mark Goldstein is the president & CEO of the Central Florida Christian Chamber of Commerce and president of On The Mark Consulting LLC., a relationship-building company. He has over thirty-five years of experience in sales and marketing which includes broadcast media, print, home-based, Internet and trade show. As president of the Christian Chamber, his goal is to build business, build community, and build the Kingdom. As president of On The Mark Consulting, he helps individuals and businesses enhance communication, reduce conflict and increase productivity.