In one of my recent blogs, The Power Of The Human Touch, I wrote about the impact touch has on an individual who is suffering. Granted, you do need to take care in doing this, especially if you don't have much of a relationship with the individual as they could view it as a threat. This is particularly true if they have been wounded in the past and if you're not careful, you could do more harm than good.
However, this is no excuse to not reach out if you're feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, just simple outstretching your hand toward someone and holding it there is just the thing to help them realize that someone does care and therefore God must also. To tell you the truth, I've never had someone tell me no or even pull away from me if I've felt prompted to ask if I can touch them while I pray or offer to give them a hug afterward and once they get touched, I always see the mask start to crumble and suddenly find the person doesn't want to let go of me! That's okay!
While the benefits to the receiver are obvious, what about the benefits to the giver? This is often overlooked. You see, no one has exclusivity when it comes to being wounded or fearful. The very fact that we were born into a fallen world automatically makes us a target for suffering. While we respond to our "wounds" in a variety of different ways, they all serve the same purpose. Our responses are designed to protect us by building a wall around us. Our reasoning, whether conscious of unconscious, is if we build a wall, we won't feel. If we can't feel, no one can hurt us anymore. The problem is, it doesn't work that way and all we do is end up with a lot of "self-inflicted" wounds which makes us bitter, resentful and lonely.
God hates walls! God hates walls so much that He suffered and died for us in order to break the barrier of sin which had been erected between us. This was the ultimate wall. One of the tactics of the enemy is to try to get us reinforce the walls we have already built and incite us to build new ones as well. I believe this is one reason there is disunity and wounds within the Body of Christ. We're building and reinforcing walls rather than tearing them down.
When you dare to reach out and touch someone, something happens to you. You're opening up the gate and allowing this person to creep inside the walls. We're allowing ourselves to feel the love and compassion of God and be bathed in it also. We find that our past hurts begin to heal. We discover that our focus has shifted onto others instead of just ourselves.
As an primary teacher, I get the opportunity to watch human behavior in a more natural setting. As time goes on, we start playing games and putting on various masks. We start hiding things. Most young children have not learned to do this very well yet. Unless they have been brutally treated, children are touchers. All day long, I have hands reaching out to touch me, pat me, etc. They will reach for my hand, rest their head against my knees, touch my hair and gently touch things which belong to me.
Somewhere along the line, this often changes. A person gets wounded and hurt. Often times, it's not physical. A disinterested parent is just as painful, if not more painful than a physically abusive parent. At least the abusive parent acknowledges their presence. This is how a child views it anyway.
While it is true some people are a lot less touchy-feely than others, I'm afraid that more often than not the standoffish aloofness toward those who hurt is more a fear of becoming vulnerable yourself. Ironically, when we dare to take a risk and touch a hurting and wounded world, we find ourselves being healed of our wounds as well. God's healing touch is not only poured out on the receiver, it is poured out on the giver as well.
May we dare to stretch forth hands of healing so that we may help heal the wounds of our world and have our wounds heal in the process!
Yes, thanks for continuing this topic. I suppose that it is equally difficult for the hugger and the huggee to make themself vulnerable and open to rejection. But God calls us to do just that.