How does it feel to be a sore thumb? Notice I said to be a sore thumb? We’ve all had a sore thumb before but I’m talking about being one.
If you care for the hurting, the hungry and the homeless, you will stick out. If you care for the immigrant, you will stick out. If you defend the defenseless, you will stick out. Whatever political side you are on, if you reach out to the other side, you will stick out. If you refuse to take part in racial slurs or ethnic jokes, you will stick out. If you find something good to say about people others perceive as bad, you will stick out. If someone tries to take the shirt off your back and you give them your coat, too, you will stick out. If you come down on the side of mercy for people who deserve punishment, you will stick out. If you give people a second chance, you will stick out. If someone forces you to go one mile and you go two, you will stick out. If you try to understand those who are different from you, you will stick out. If you do something nice for your enemy, you will stick out. If you pray for those who are against you, you will stick out. If you turn the other cheek, you will stick out.
This is all very good, because if you stick out like a sore thumb, you may get a chance to talk about it. Some people might want to know why. That’s when you can talk about the gospel of welcome and grace turned outward.
On Christmas Eve I took poinsettia plants to all the neighbors. The one that was the most fun to do was the neighbor across the street who spreads bad rumors about us. Sometimes being a sore thumb has its rewards.
Grace and mercy are always out of season in that they don’t come naturally. When everybody is trying to even the score, someone who returns good for evil causes a ruckus. When everything costs something and something comes for free, everyone is suspicious. When even the Bible says we reap what we sow, but grace doesn’t pay any attention to that, it shakes everything up. Grace pretty much turns everything on its head, and isn’t that grand?
Let’s face it, we’re just sore thumbs all the way around and that’s the way the Lord wants it. So celebrate being a sore thumb. Sticking out like a sore thumb is a big part of God’s plan for spreading the news of His love and grace.