There was a young boy whose older brother had hands that were scarred and red. They got along very well except in public places. The young boy was embarrassed by his brother’s hands, whispering, “Please put your hands in your pockets” or “Could you put your hands behind your back.”
One day (finally) the younger brother asked how his older brother’s hands had been scarred. The older boy said, “When you were a tiny baby, Mom and Dad were away. There was a fire in our house. Your room was filled with flames, and your crib was on fire. I rushed into your room and lifted you away from the flames. My hands were permanently scarred and discolored because of that.”
The younger boy took his older brothers hands and pressed them to his lips, and held them to his heart. Now he understood! Never again, especially in public places, was he embarrassed or ashamed to be close to the one who was scarred to save him.
This story might be a parable for our lives. The hands, in fact, the whole body of Jesus Christ was scarred and deformed that we might be saved. Have we ever been ashamed to be known as a Christian? Have we ever tried to hide the fact? Have we ever been ashamed to be identified with the one who died a criminal’s death that we might live? And the hardest question: how willing are we to tell the story to others that our brother, Jesus, was scarred, so that we might live?
One of my favorite Bible passages is Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, in Christ, has forgiven you.” A hardened heart, a sinful heart, is always ashamed of being identified with Christ. Let us live lives that are marked with kindness, tender-heartedness, and forgiveness. For Christ pulled us out of the flames of death to save us.