Are you a huggy touchy-feely Christian? Or do you prefer your ‘personal space?’ I definitely fall into the latter group.
I remember going to New Year’s Eve parties and conveniently going to the bathroom at midnight to avoid those awkward New Year hugs with everyone.
Therapists and doctors claim that hugs are good for our health. We see the healing touch of Jesus in the way He heals the leper. It is not by accident that Jesus chooses to heal him in this way.
THE HEALING POWER OF TOUCH
Neuro-scientists tell us the healing power of physical touch. Caroline Leaf tells of Psychologist Harry Harlow who undertook a scientific study in the 50’s and 60’s by enclosing baby monkeys with a substitute ‘mother’ made from wire.
They were fed milk to ensure nutrition, but never received physical cuddles and affection. They quickly showed signs of depression, stress and violent behaviour.
This behaviour was reversed when the wire ‘mother’ was replaced by an older monkey who began to hug and cuddle them.
Caroline Leaf says lack of touch is called ‘cutaneous deprivation’ and can be responsible for emotional, intellectual and physical problems in human beings.
Now translate this into the life the leper was living; not having been touched in many years. Unlike me, this leper had no choice. Despised and condemned by everyone, he was untouchable.
He had a contagious ‘disease’ and couldn’t go near others. He was an outcast.
Consider the deep wounds caused by feeling so unloved, alone and rejected, or the damage caused by the cutaneous deprivation.
THE HEALING TOUCH OF JESUS
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Praise God that Jesus stretched out his hand! Jesus transforms the life of the leper in an just one touch. Where the world turned away from the leper, Jesus turned towards him.
He restored the leper’s humanity, gave him back his dignity and made him feel loved. Jesus gave him exactly what he needed.
When we engage socially with others, we activate the ventral vagal branch of our parasympathetic nervous system. We need to spend most of our time living in this part of our nervous system, it’s where the healing is.
It had been many years since the leper had engaged socially with anyone. Our nervous system regulates when we’re in connection with one another. Without this, we become either shut-down, lifeless, depressed or fearful, anxious and on edge.
The healing touch of Jesus restores this in an instant.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19
Could a lack of touch or social engagement in responsible for your health condition? How can you allow God to restore this?
HE HEALS AND MAKES WHOLE
I love how the God of the overflow over exceeded the leper’s prayer! He was just as concerned about the leper’s emotional wellbeing as the physical illness.
You may be wondering why your physical healing is taking so long, be encouraged that God knows what healing you need. He knows you personally. He sees you individually.
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me…… For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb….
Ps 139:1, 13
He wants to heal and restore every part of you. What touch from the Saviour can you receive today? Let His love deliver you. Loving is powerful!
I now challenge myself to hug every day. What about you? Can you bring the healing touch of Jesus to someone in your world? You may be the answer to someone else’s breakthrough!
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