I love hands. I love the way that each person’s hands are perfectly unique. Some are big, work hardened, and rough, some are slender, soft, and white, some have cute, stubby fingers, others are long. Some have wide palms, some are wrinkled and softened by time, while others are chubby and smooth, still clumsily learning how to touch.
What I find so wonderful about hands is no matter what they look like, they all hold an incredible power; the power to do evil, or to do good.
If a person’s hands could speak, what an amazing story they would tell – and they would probably tell one much different than what people would expect.
Hands are mentioned well over 1,000 times in the Bible. This shows us that they are very important. Many sins recorded in the Bible involve a sin committed with the hands.
Genesis 3:6 “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” (emphasis added)
With her hand, Eve plucked the fatal fruit from the tree of good and evil and brought it to her lips, and with her hand she gave the fruit to her husband. Even the first woman and first man used their innocent, perfectly formed hands for evil.
Many years later, King David, who used his hands to kill wild animals and grow skilled on the harp of praise, also thought he could hide in a dark room with another man’s wife and use his hands in sin. David was not hidden from the One who matters. 2 Samuel 11:27 says “But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.” Nathan the prophet later tells David, “Indeed you did it secretly, but I will [punish you] before all Israel, and under the sun.’” David’s response is “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:2-13). God did forgive David but the sin of his hands brought him great suffering and disgrace in his life.
Although so many hands have brought forth so much evil, one pair of hands lifted the burden of sin forever.
Jesus Christ carried the cross up the mountain and was nailed through his hands and feet to die so that the world would no longer have to pay the penalty of death. The hands that blessed children, healed the hurting, and that lifted up the dead were pierced through, broken, and mutilated. He did all this so His people would have life.
1 Timothy 2:8 says “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.”
We are called to live in holiness and purity. We all do things with our hands that we are not proud of. Nearly all action involves hands in some way. If each of us held our hands to the standard of Jesus Christ, so much sin would diminish!
With our hands we have the power to gently touch a face, or shove in impatience. We can gesture in anger or wave with joy. With the same hands that we hug and pray and bless we also injure and touch in sinful ways.
“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire” (Matthew 18:8).
God takes our sin seriously. He has given us these beautiful, complex hands with the capacity to be incredibly gentle and tender and yet so strong and firm and talented. How are you using the two that He has given to you?
May you live in such a way that if your hands spoke of what you do in the darkness they would speak of prayer, of sacrifice, and of purity.
Laura Lingner is a graduate of College of the Ozarks and a student at the Kanakuk Institute.