Devotions By Jan

Thick Skin

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Scripture for Today:  Ephesians 4:32  “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

This Indian Rhinoceros is quite impressive.  His hide being segmented looks like body armor.  His shoulders and upper legs are covered in wart-like bumps.  And what is really amazing is that his skin is four centimeters thick!  It is understandable that he has very few natural enemies being so large and thick-skinned.

Being thick-skinned is a treasured value in our world today.  If one is thick-skinned then one can avoid emotional hurt.  Insults, name calling, and gossip have no effect.  The thick skin becomes an armor to verbal attack.

All of this sounds good at first glance.  But for the believer following God’s Word, there is a problem.  Our verse for today tells us to be tender-hearted.  If we are tender towards others than we can be kind and we can be compassionate.  But if our hearts are tender for this purpose, than our hearts are also vulnerable to attack.  Thick skin would not be possible.

Thick skin on humans is just a myth anyway.  We are all fragile to one degree or another.  If that were not true, than there would be no need to be told, “Be kind to one another.”  Having a tender heart means we will be hurt, which is why the next words are about forgiveness.  When we are tender towards others than we feel their hurts and we feel our own as well.

But the wonderful part about having a tender heart rather than thick skin is that I can realize Christ’s forgiveness for me!  The uncomfortable conviction of His Spirit can penetrate a soft heart.  My tender heart can experience His complete pardon.  Lord, do not let me grow thick skin!

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