Three Important Kisses

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Three Important Kisses

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For instance, the Bible doesn't address technique—how one actually kisses. And it doesn't explain how many calories one burns through kissing or how many muscles are involved. People can figure these things out themselves. (Yes, studies have been done that reveal that smooching burns between 12 and 30 calories every 15 minutes, varying according to a person's weight, and research indicates that 146 muscles are involved in kissing.)

When it comes to kissing, the Bible records three different types: the kiss of allegiance, the kiss of friendship and the amorous kiss. Let's briefly consider each one.

The kiss of allegiance

This type of kiss indicates one's respect for an authority figure such as a king or ruler. After anointing Saul king of Israel, the prophet Samuel "kissed him" as a sign of respect (1 Samuel 10:1, emphasis added throughout).

The kiss of allegiance is also found in idolatry. Speaking of this sinful practice, Hosea wrote: "Now they sin more and more, and have made for themselves molded images, idols of their silver, according to their skill; all of it is the work of craftsmen. They say of them, 'Let the men who sacrifice kissthe calves!'" (13:2).

God, having observed people kissing idols—for He sees everything (Job 34:21)—told Elijah (who thought he was the only one remaining who served God), "Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him" (1 Kings 19:18).

The authority figure to whom we should give our allegiance is God. Anticipating Jesus' return to earth to establish the Kingdom of God, Psalm 2 gives the rulers of the earth some important advice: "Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son [that is, the Son of God, Jesus], lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him" (verses 10-12).

Of all the types of kisses in the Bible, that of allegiance to God is by far the most important. In summarizing God's instructions into two great commandments, Jesus said, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength'" (Mark 12:29-30).

When we give our allegiance to God, His instructions will guide the decisions we make regarding the remaining types of kisses.

The kiss of friendship

A kiss was a common way of showing friendship in the Old Testament. Parents kissed their children (Genesis 27:27), and there are numerous examples of relatives greeting each other with a kiss and kissing each other good-bye (Genesis 29:10-15; 31:55; 33:4; 45:15; Exodus 18:7; Ruth 1:9). This nonromantic type of kiss was offered to everyone in the extended family.

In addition to relatives kissing each other, a kiss was also common in friendships (see the example of David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:41). Continuing this tradition of kissing as a sign of friendship, Paul encouraged Christian brethren in the New Testament to "greet one another with a holy kiss" (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20). Of course, this was more than just a tradition; it was done in fulfillment of Christ's teaching that spiritual brethren are to love one another (John 13:34-35).

Providing explanation of this instruction to greet brethren in Christ with a "holy kiss," the Expositor's Bible Commentary notes: "The reminder that it is a 'holy' kiss guards it against erotic [sexual] associations. It was a token of the love of Christ mutually shared and of the peace and harmony he had brought into their lives."

In our world today, each family and culture has its own customs and traditions. If your family members greet each other with hugs or handshakes or even with just a verbal hello instead of kisses, that's fine. The key here is showing respect and goodwill. The same is true in greeting Church brethren and friends. Go with the custom of the area and the preference of the person. Don't make anyone uncomfortable with how you show friendship.

The amorous kiss

The amorous kiss is a passionate experience that often stimulates the desire for additional intimacy. Instead of a simple peck on the cheek as one might give a friend, this kind of kiss is usually on the lips. As the lover in the Song of Solomon proclaims, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is better than wine" (1:2).

Because this kind of kissing often leads to further sexual activity (Proverbs 7), these kisses should be reserved for marriage. As Song of Solomon 2:7 advises, "Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases." The best time for learning how to kiss this way is when you are married.

As we've just seen, kissing is a pretty important subject. For more good advice on having a better relationship with God, knowing how to choose friends, and learning how to best plan your love life be sure to continue reading Vertical Thought. VT

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