Thomas Jefferson's Handshake
God does not show favoritism.
On July 4, 1801, President Thomas Jefferson did the unthinkable at a White House reception: he shook hands with his visitors. His predecessors at the White House, George Washington and John Adams, always bowed to honored guests at official functions. They reserved simple handshakes for less distinguished visitors. By breaking with tradition in how he greeted guests, Jefferson introduced the idea of treating people equally, whatever their social or political standing. Today, politicians shake hands, kiss babies, and greet the public as they would friends, following the pattern that Jefferson established.
Whether politicians treat others as friends because they truly see them that way or because they want to get votes is a legitimate question. Even so, in Jefferson's example we see the value of assuming that everyone around us—whether above or beneath us in social or professional standing—is worthy of friendship. When we welcome people into our lives with a warm smile, a handshake, or kind words, we are showing them the love of God.
In what situations do you tend to feel superior to others? When have you failed to treat others with courtesy as a result?
Dr. Gary Chapman is the beloved best-selling author of The Five Love Languages and Love as a Way of Life. For more information, click here.