+ Psalm 25:1-3
In you, LORD my God,
I put my trust.
I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame…
“You need thicker skin.” One of my mentors said this to me during a recent coaching session. And it’s true. This has always been true.
One summer, my family traveled to Florida on vacation. We stayed at a hotel with a piano in the lobby. In the evenings, a man played old show tunes and pretty folk songs for the guests. I recently completed my second year of basic piano lessons. So one night, I tapped on the shoulder of this lobby pianist and bragged: “I know how to play piano, too.” He smiled at me, slid off the piano bench and invited me to play what I learned.
As I sat down, I realized that my two years of piano really meant that I knew how to play through scales and major chords… but I didn’t know a single song. I played one Major C chord, and then I quickly left the piano bench, head held high.
But, my ‘thin skin’ tattled on me immediately. My cheeks turned deep shades of pink and crimson- showing the world that I was affected and embarrassed by my Major C chord.
I needed thicker skin then, and still– I could use a few more layers.
I like to present a strong, confident front. I enjoy polishing my words and calculating my actions. I do this, because I love to receive positive feedback and I sometimes feel a pinch with constructive criticism.
In a world where we are all encouraged to protect our image and shape our appearance to ‘fit-in”- skin often betrays us. Whether it’s blushing cheeks, or we break out in hives that reveal our stress, or we find a pimple the morning of our wedding, or we develop wrinkles that show our wear-and-tear through this life… skin can expose us.
Tonight, I’m reflecting on SKIN as a spiritual roadblock and also a spiritual vessel. Jesus spent energy and ministry on those whose skin betrayed them.
Christ’s entire ministry touched those who were broken. The recipients of Christ’s healing faced a variety of challenges. But I always remember his interactions with the Lepers- those who were cast to the margins specifically because their skin ‘tattled on them’.
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease that results in painful lesions on the arms and legs and face… this particular form of brokenness could be seen, observed, and scorned- because it was a disease present in the skin.
On more than one occasion- Jesus heals Lepers. In healing their skin, Jesus offers them a new purpose, a renewed opportunity to be confident, whole, and accepted.
Through faith in Christ, even lepers found strength to overcome the tender vulnerability of skin that reveals hurt and insecurity.
As I continue to pray through the psalms this summer, I’m lingering in Psalm 25- words that promise God’s strength and protection to our spirits. Casting aside blushing cheeks and bruised pride- God empowers us. We will never be put to shame, or insecurity, or vulnerability that cannot be overcome- because God gives us strength.
Christ carried out this promise among those with the thinnest, most damaged skin of all.
And so- for all of us who could use healing and power through thicker skin and deeper faith, we turn the gospel, and to the empowering words of Psalm 25… let us repeat these prophetic words: In You, Lord, my God, I put my trust…