Hello and Goodbye: The Power of a Sacred Kiss

Date: March 27, 2024

Greet each other with a sacred kiss. All the churches of Christ send you their greetings. Romans 16:16


Have you kissed anyone hello or goodbye lately?

You might be surprised to hear that the Bible commands Jesus-followers, in five different places, to “greet [each other] with a sacred kiss” (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26); or “kiss of love” (1 Peter 5:14). Here’s the idea behind all this kissing: followers of Jesus are family and hellos and goodbyes within a family are important. Communicating love is important– “love one another just as I have loved you,” Jesus said (John 13:34).

In relationship, it’s the small, thoughtful things that keep friendships and love alive. When we take the time to meaningfully greet each other in our comings and goings, there’s an opportunity for deeper connection.

If you’re married, do you toss a goodbye over your shoulder as you go out the door? When you come home at the end of the day, do you flop down on the couch without a single question about your husband or wife’s day? Those who are married should apply those kissing verses literally! Marriage authorities suggest, and it’s fair to say, the Bible concurs, that, when you see your [spouse] at the end of the day, you should share a hug and kiss that lasts at least six seconds. One expert calls it a “kiss with potential.” [1]

If kissing hello and goodbye has become a distant memory in your marriage this may signal unresolved issues, points out one pastor. “So too, in [church], reticence to greet each other with manifest and unqualified warmth may signal a problem”.[2]

Today, make those hellos and goodbyes count in your marriage, family and church community!

[1] Email, Gottman, John, Marriage Minute from the Gottman Institute, 29 February 2024.

[2] Mathis, David. “Greet with a Holy Kiss? Applying an Uncomfortable Command.” Desiring God, 6 Oct. 2023, www.desiringgod.org/articles/greet-with-a-holy-kiss.