If you will, think for a few seconds on how you would answer this question: WHAT IS THE MOST OVER-USED QUESTION IN TODAY’S SOCIETY?
“Huh?” ~ no
“Paper or plastic?” ~ nah
“Do you want fries with that?” ~ nope
In my opinion the most over-used question in today’s society is “HOW ARE YOU?” That question comes in many different forms such as “How are you doing?” or “How’s life?” or “How’s it going?” Think about it, our society throws around this question so frequently. In fact, we have thrown it around so much that it has lost its meaning and its importance.
Think about how much that question is thrown around on a daily basis. You can walk up and down the halls of your school, your office, your local mall, and even your church and hear this question over and over again. It has become synonymous with “hello” as a common greeting but it is so much more than just a greeting. How many times have people today asked you that question? How many times have you answered it with 100% honesty? How many times has your answer been “good” or “fine” and the last words to describe your life was “good” or “fine”?
“HOW ARE YOU?” is a hugely important question. It is loaded. It requires complete honesty. It requires more time than a simple pass in a hallway.
I came to this “HOW ARE YOU?” epiphany during my college days at Lipscomb University. I loved going to school there. However, there were times in that super-friendly, Christian environment where I felt that the community of students were content with being fake. Walking around campus I would constantly get bombarded with “How are you?” from friends, classmates, acquaintances, and strangers. Often times, they would pass by before I could even give an answer. Did they truly care? Would it be an inconvenience in their lives if I answered that question honestly because they would probably have to stop right there in their tracks?
I made a decision during that time that has absolutely changed my life. I decided to never ask the question, “HOW ARE YOU?” unless I truly wanted to hear the answer. As I think about the life of Jesus, was there ever a time he asked somebody “HOW ARE YOU?” and did not really want to heave the answer? Did He ever just want to be polite and act like He was interested to just not be rude?
Is our goal as followers of Christ to simply not be rude or to be real and to really care about others?
My daily challenge to myself is this: be real, be honest, and care about people enough to give them the time of the day to answer “HOW ARE YOU?” honestly. In my experience, people are really surprised when others truly mean that question. I have to sometimes slow somebody down and say “seriously, HOW ARE YOU DOING?” just so they can let the “I always answer with a smile and a ‘fine’ or ‘good’” wall down. I have found that people are dying for somebody to simply listen to them. Often times, that question has opened the Pandora’s box of a person’s soul because they had held it in for so long.
I dare you to try it for a week and see if you life is any different. Only ask “HOW ARE YOU?” when you really mean it and when you really want to know the answer. Make sure that people you ask know that you mean it. Look them in the eyes, take an extra 5 minutes, and care. You do not have to be a pastor or have a ministerial degree to do this.
Instead of “HOW ARE YOU?” being the most over-used question in our society, let’s make it the most life-changing question in our society.