Tuesday, February 22, 2011

He Touched Me!

Mark 1:41 Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing” he said. “be Clean!”

In his book the five Love languages, Dr. Gary Chapman talks about five ways people feel like they are loved. 1. Words of affirmation 2. Quality Time 3. Receiving Gifts 4. Acts of Service 5. Physical Touch.

All of these ways of receiving love are important to somebody but Physical touch is important to everybody. Touch is one of the Love Acts that can be easily abused through neglect or through misuse. As we teach our children there is good touch and there is bad touch. Touch can be sexual or non-sexual. From the time we are born touch is important because of the different clusters of nerves throughout the body layered in the skin. Touch is dependent on the emotional well being of humans. A baby that’s been held and caressed by the mother is more likely to be psychologically well adapted than a baby who has not. When we are having a bad day sometimes you will hear people say, “You need a hug.” They might think they are being funny but in actuality they are right on the money. Hugs release Oxytocin into the body giving a person a sense of being nurtured.

But what do you do when nobody wants to touch you? What do you do when you are untouchable? For many people we begin to lose our sensitivity and we cut ourselves off from people because we have lost touch. What do we mean when we say a person has lost touch? They don’t communicate. They are not in tune with reality. They are not sensitive to cultural nuances. They are no longer connected to primary relationships.

Sometimes we lose touch because of something we are going through. We can have traumatic experiences or illnesses that can cause us to lose touch over time.

There was a man who crossed the path of Jesus who had an infectious skin disease called leprosy. In its worst stages, leprosy would cause a person’s ears, nose, fingers, and toes to fall off. The person with leprosy had to live outside the city and if they came close to “healthy” people they had to yell a warning by saying, “I’m Unclean! I’m Unclean!” what would you do if what you were dealing with caused you to be separated from the people you loved? What would you do if you had to yell out your condition anytime you came around people? You’d probably just lose touch!

This man lost touch until Jesus came around. When he saw Jesus he fell on his knees and begged him, “if you are willing you can make me clean.” The problem is not that Jesus wasn’t willing; the problem was that this was against the Law. If Jesus had contact with this man he could potentially 1) be ceremonially unclean and lose his job as a religious teacher 2) get sick himself. Who are some modern day lepers we avoid because doing so would jeopardize our status?

Jesus did something radical. Before he even healed the man he touched the man! He could have just spoken a word like he did with the ten but he touched this one. Why?! Because he wanted to reaffirm the man’s humanity. You are not dirty! I’m not afraid of You! I see you! Can’t you see this man overjoyed that somebody finally recognized him as a human being again? ‘Jesus touched me! Nobody would even look at me but he touched me!’

If we are going to bless somebody today through a lovealution we need to be able to do four things:

Be filled with compassion. When you have the Love of God in you, you can’t keep walking past his children and turning up your nose just because they don’t look like you, dress like you, or smell like you. Behind their condition is a human being with feelings just like you.

Touch people. Something spiritually kinetic takes place when you touch other people. Whether it’s a handshake, a hand on the shoulder, or a hug, you should make it your goal this week to hug at least three people with a non-sexual touch. Touch somebody with the love of God.

Be willing. Put yourself in a position to be conduit of compassion. Don’t let societies rules stop you from blessing somebody different from you. It doesn’t matter what race, social class, sexuality, or medical condition they might have. Be willing to help.

Speak Life! Jesus told the man. ‘Be Healed!” speak life into people who have lost touch.

Dear God,

Thank you for touching me when other people avoided me. Thank you for healing my condition and touching me where I needed to be healed. Use me to touch people who are in need of having their humanity restored.

Thank you Jesus!

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