Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Transforming Hearts and Transforming Lives

Transforming Hearts and Transforming Lives

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In Max Lucado’s book Just Like Jesus, he states that “All of us learned early that the hand is suited for more than survival – it’s a tool of emotional expression. The same hand can help or hurt, extend or clench, lift someone up or shove someone down.” Max Lucado goes on to say, “But manage them and our hands become instruments of grace – not just tools in the hand of God, but God’s very hands."

How often have we, as Christians, used our hands to judge, ostracize, condemn, or inflict hurt or pain. We inflict pain not only with a harmful touch but also by choosing not to provide a hug in times of sorrow or to not provide care when in pain. We can inflict pain to the heart by purposely not saying I love you, not shaking someone’s hand to greet them, by typing out words of hate or condemnation on the internet. Our hands can and do touch people’s lives.

According to Dictionary.com, the word touch means a state or fact of being touched; a coming into or being in contact; a mental or moral perception, sensitivity, or understanding. In today’s society, we have made “touch” a dirty word. How often we hear the phrase, "Touch me and I will sue you." When did we get so cynical, self-absorbed and wicked? We let one bad incident shape and mold our beliefs and our way of thinking. One good example of this is the recent bad media on our nation's police officers. Not all police officers are bad. There are many police officers out there that are kind, compassionate, extend a helping hand and touch lives. Yet we Americans have used our hands to point and condemn all police officers.

We choose to treat each other as though we all have leprosy. Jesus did not treat people as if they had leprosy. Instead, he saw each human being as a precious gift of life. He reached out and touched people not only physically but emotionally as well. He not only healed people but he touched their souls and their hearts. Jesus transformed lives. When you see someone sad, sitting all alone, do you step up and reach out to them or do you continue to walk on by and ignore that they even exist? Would Jesus walk on by? What if Jesus chose to ignore the call of saving us all from our sins? What if he never reached out and touched the blind men and healed them as he did in Matthew 20:34. Or what if in Matthew 8:3 Jesus never reached out his hand and touched the man who had leprosy and healed him.

In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus teaches us a very good lesson about touching one’s life in the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this parable there was a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho that was attacked by robbers stripped, beaten and left for dead. A priest saw the man and moved to the opposite side of the path and walked on by. The priest did not extend any kind of a help to the fallen man. Likewise, a Levite saw him and moved to the opposite side of the path and walked on by. The Levite did not extend any kind of a help to the fallen man. However, a Samaritan who happened to see the fallen man extended a helping hand. He had compassion for him, and he cared for his wounds. The Samaritan then set him upon his animal and took him to the inn and paid the innkeeper to take care of him. This Samaritan touched and saved this man’s life. The Samarian provided him comfort and kindness. Whereas, the priest and Levite did not extend any comfort or kindness. Why? Maybe the priest and Levite thought the robbers were still about, so they were afraid. Or maybe they were just set in their way of thinking and beliefs. Maybe they thought he was already dead and did not want to become unclean by touching his body. Or perhaps they thought this man did not deserve a kind and caring touch but deserved death. The Samaritan showed that despite who you are or where you come from that we all deserve a kind and helping hand. We all deserve to be treated equally no matter what lifestyle, race or religion we hail from. If we are to set a good example, just as Jesus did, we need to be God's hand tools not our own. As we sojourn in this world, we need to let God teach and guide us on how we can touch and transform people's lives. We need to heed His calling and not our own. 

What can you do in your everyday life to reach out and touch someone’s life? First of all, pray. Ask for God's leading and guidance. He has a special someone in mind for you to connect with. Someone that is within your everyday boundary that you venture out in. It might be someone who needs to hear and see that someone cares for them and loves them. Or maybe it is someone who needs to hear about Jesus and how he won the victory over sin at Calvary. If you are unable to venture outside your home, what can you do online or within your own household to reach out and touch someone? I am presently confined in my home due to a foot injury but that does not keep me from reaching out and touching people’s lives online. Such as, telling someone that you will pray for them or share a quote or story that has touched and transformed your life. We can touch hearts and transform lives if we keep our focus on Jesus and walk in his example and not in the ways of this world.

Heavenly Father,

We just thank you that you gave us hands to touch peoples’ lives to heal, to care, to provide, to teach, to protect, to help one another. We ask that you show us your will and guide and direct us in how we can help others to come to know You. Help us to touch and transform hearts and lives and be an example to others by extending a helping hand, showing kindness and love toward one another. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.
May you have a blessed week.