As a child I was taught the importance of showing deference to my elders, to those in authority and most importantly, to those who held offices of influence. To fail to do so came close to being added to the list of seven deadly sins. Mom taught me well because try as I may, I can't seem to rid myself of the hand-shaking habit.
Now before you commend me for the warmth of my greetings, I have a confession: there are times when shaking hands is downright inconvenient. Or, sometimes, inappropriate. I've been embarrassed at having made people lay things down in order to grab my paw and I've endured the quizzical looks of folks who wonder why I must be so inordinately polite while watching a parade. I've wondered, too. As far as inappropriate, I've learned that while most people return the gesture in a warm and respectful manner, some hands come attached to persons with impure intentions and are best left unshaken.
Scripture's got a lot of things to say about hands. For starters, in the matter of charity one hand is not supposed to know what the other hand is doing. That's not always as easy as it sounds, literally or figuratively, but it helps us determine our true motives.
Then there are those heart-rending descriptions of how Jesus was treated as his enemies "laid their hands on him". Their actions conveyed neither respect nor compassion.
I see a pattern emerging in all of this: Respect is good under the right circumstances. Handshaking is still important. While we're using our hands to help others we're not using them for questionable actions.
"Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always ready to lend a helping handů.God's people should be bighearted and courteous." Titus 3:1-2 (The Message)
Mom would heartily agree.