Cuts Like a Knife

February 29, 2008 started as the best day I'd had in many. I had my hair colored, cut and styled. There is nothing like professionally coiffed hair to make me feel energized and positive.

After I arrived home and settled Clara (then 2) and Carynne (then 1) down for a nap, I began straightening up the house in preparation for the afternoon's activities. Yesterday's pan of brownies beckoned me from the counter. The trouble was they were stuck to the pan. I began chiseling them up with a serrated knife for long-term storage in the refrigerator when the knife slipped up and passed straight through my left hand. Immediately my kitchen was transformed into what looked like a crime scene as blood splashed spasmodically out of my hand and around the room.

In one swift move, my joyous day had been sliced with an afternoon trip the ER, fifteen stitches and the application of a bandage that resembled something from a 1950's mummy horror flick. I ended the day with a hand engulfed in throbbing pain and wondered if it would ever function the same again.

The feeling has never completely returned to outer edge of my left pinkie. I also have a nasty scar on my left palm as a memory of that day. Along with that scar, there is a reminder in my heart of what incredible damage can be done in a single careless moment.

This morning I am reading the 12th Chapter of 1 Corinthians. Paul's emphasis in this passage is the gifts from God that are granted each person when he or she accepts Jesus' sacrifice as the payment for their sins. Each gift is unique (Verse 4). Each gift is specifically designed to fill a special purpose in the church (Verse 7).

Paul takes great care to teach the Corinthians that every role a person is gifted to play is just as vital as any other. Every one is needed and necessary to ensure the health of the whole. This whole is referred to as the body of Christ (Verse 12). What I contribute might be a toe, a hand or some ribs but no part is greater and no part is less.

As I pondered this passage, I thought of the many people I know, including myself, who have been wounded by careless words or thoughtless actions by someone in their church. Though the gash in my hand was painful, feeling severed from Jesus' body hurt immensely worse. I can feel Jesus' tugging at my heart, whispering words of hope and healing.

Shannon, you go bandage their wounds. Rub the salve of My grace and kindness over their sores. Cover your own cuts with the bandage of forgiveness and use those hurts to pour love on other people. Don't let My people stay separated from My body. Love them back where they belong, folded securely among my church.

Jesus, I hear You. I know the pain of reckless words and many times have been the source of another's hurt. Today I choose to be an agent for hope and healing. I choose to gather back instead of to scatter. I choose to overlook, forgive and give grace. I choose to recognize the gifts You've granted others and help them find new and creative ways to express them for the good of the whole.

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