Share the Christly Touch

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

We’ve all seen it—the girl sitting by herself with hair covering her downcast eyes, the boy huddled over his lunch. Maybe we think they’re weird because they act differently, speak awkwardly, or even look bizarre. Maybe we just don’t know them. Perhaps we’ve even been there—feeling alone, on the outside.

What is our response? Do we walk away, ignore them, make a snide remark to a friend, or maybe pray for them, say hi…? They’re people, too, just like us. And maybe they need what we have to offer—the Christly touch. How can we make a difference? We can follow Jesus’ example. He spoke to the outcasts; he even touched them. Here’s a neat story:

After teaching how to live (lessons found in the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5-7), Jesus was approached by a leper. This man had a skin disease that everyone thought was contagious. So they ostracized him, made him an outcast. He had to live totally away from others, separate from normal society.

This man said, “Lord, if you want, you can make me clean.” Instead of walking away, brushing him aside as insignificant or unclean, “Jesus reached out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I do want to. Become clean’” (Matt 8:2-3 CEB). And the man was cleansed, completely healed.

How did Jesus do it?

  • He looked at the man as a man—not as a leper, not as a total reject, not as a person with a social or physical disease. He looked at him as God’s child.
  • He was willing to talk to him, to engage in conversation, to show him what it meant to be touched in the heart by the Christ. Jesus wanted to heal him. He had compassion.
  • He touched him. There are two parts to this one.
    • First, there’s overcoming fear. Lots of people may have been afraid to touch this man. They thought they would catch the disease. Not Jesus. He didn’t let fear keep him from caring about others and working with this man.
    • And then he touched him—he showed compassion. The human touch is so important—just a hand, nothing major, nothing improper, just the touch that says, “I’m here, and I see you, and you’re valuable, and you’re pure, and you’re good. You’re not an outcast. I see you whole, just as God sees you.”

And this is a healing gift—seeing others the way God, who is Love, sees them—as loved.

So in this month of thanksgiving, let’s see how we can touch someone’s life. This doesn’t mean we have to go around touching people. It just means that we figure out how to engage or connect with others, especially with those who desperately need connection. We see and acknowledge others; we say hi; we talk with others face to face; we include them. We refuse to be thrown off by others’ different lives or even their harsh remarks. Instead, we bless them. We show gratitude for every individual. We share the Christly touch.