One evening the joint of my left thumb began to hurt. By the time I went to bed, I gave it 8 on a pain scale of 1 to 10. Just moving a finger hurt. I had no idea how I injured my hand. It had been a typical day. There was no “Oh, I shouldn’t have done that” moment. But, oh, the pain!
After taking Tylenol and applying pain-reliever cream, I taped my thumb to my hand and went to bed. The sharp pain gradually subsided, but the next day, I could not use my left hand. My right hand took over buttoning duties, as best it could. I skipped putting on earrings.
All that reminds me of the pain we experience in life, the pain of broken relationships, the pain of losses, the pain of broken spirits, the pain of separations. Life holds so much pain.
The apostle Paul likened the church to the body of Christ with each Christian having a role to play. But what happens when that person is in pain, too paralyzed to move and function? Just as I needed to baby my thumb that week, so we need to tend to the hurting.
Yesterday I received a sympathy card with a handwritten note from a friend following the death of my last living sibling. My friend has such a gift for touching people’s lives. May her tribe increase!
We can touch people in simple ways:
1. If someone lost a job: Let them know you’re praying for them. Check in with them from time to time to see how they’re doing. That’s applying medication to a wound.
2. If someone is going through a divorce: Invite them to lunch or dinner. Include them in a social setting, so they know that just because they’re no longer part of a couple, their company is still desired. That’s bandaging a wound.
3. If someone is grieving: Send, or better yet take, a sympathy bouquet to them. That’s kissing a hurt.
4. If someone is abused: Offer to let them spend the night at your house. That’s stitching a cut.
5. If someone is ill: Take them soup, a meal or a treat to let them know you’re thinking of them. That’s comfort food for the soul.
6. If someone is in trouble: Call or visit to see how they’re doing. That’s soothing salve.
7. If any of these suffering souls hold leadership positions in the congregation, offer to relieve them for a few weeks until their lives get back on track. That’s “casting” a broken leg.
I am writing this article to myself, because sometimes I don’t say anything because I don’t know what to say. But better to stutter a bit then to ignore someone who has fallen on tough times. We need to look for the hurting among us and comfort them. Let them know we care. Baby them.
That’s what I did for my thumb for a few days. With a little help from prescription cream, it is now good as new.
And with a little TLC, folks in our church congregations will revive and survive to continue the faith journey with us.
What will you do today to heal a wound for someone in your circle of friends? Click on the link at the bottom of the page and leave a comment.
June 3, 10 a.m. - Friends of the Heart at Baughman United Methodist Church, New Cumberland, for Bouquet of Tables, "If Our Closets Could Talk."
June 17, 3 p.m. - Friends of the Heart at Salem U. C. C., Elizabethville for a Ladies Tea, "If Our Closets Could Talk."