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God’s left hand

One in 15 who read this column today are left-handed. 

The rest are right-handed.  Together we make up all of mankind, and in Jesus Christ are his children.

The gospel of Mark says, “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven, and he sat at the right hand of God.” ~ Mark 16:19  This has led to all kinds of conversations.

Is God left-handed?  Is there a difference in left-handed or right-handed people?

Some may attempt to say that God is right-handed or left-handed.  The real truth is that He has no hands, for He is a spirit and does not have a body like us.  The scriptures use human terms to refer to God so that we can understand and relate better to Him, and to one another.

Here’s a little example of misunderstanding from a child’s viewpoint.

Little Bobby was spending the weekend with his grandmother.  His grandmother decided to take him to the park on Saturday morning.  The grass was green.  The trees were gorgeous shapes and sizes.  The ducks were swimming in the pond, and the sun was shining with a few puffy clouds.  Everything was beautiful. 

His grandmother remarked, “Doesn’t it look like an artist painted this scenery?  Did you know God painted this just for you?” 

Bobby said, “Yes, God did it, and he did it left handed.”
 This confused his grandmother a bit, and she asked him, “What makes you say God did this with his left hand?” 

“Well,” said Bobby, “we learned at Sunday school last week that Jesus sits on God’s right hand!”

Hard to argue with that logic!   That joke was told many times by a good friend and church member, Jack Brown, who always began it with, “Did you know God was left-handed?” Turns out Jack was left- handed as well, so he had a point he wanted to make!

In the liturgical churches we say every Sunday that Jesus ascended to Heaven and sits at the right hand of God.  What we mean by that is that He is in a place of authority, as Mark attempts to make that point.

Scripture says that when we are giving offerings, we should not let the left hand know what the right is doing.  What this means is we should never let others know that we are doing good things, for then we shall be seen as seeking honor from people.  This is not the right motive.  It is not the left motive, either.

Did you know that most professional baseball parks face east, so that the batter will not be facing the afternoon sun?  This means that the highly sought after left-handed pitcher will be pitching with his southern-facing arm, hence the term southpaw.

We must use both our hands for the work of the Lord and never think that one is better than the other.  Right-handers have certain gifts, as do left-handers.

A pencil sharpener can be placed for the left-hander or the right-hander.  In schools and offices, if they don’t have electric ones already, they are always placed for the right-hander.  Guitars for the southpaw have to be flipped over or designed specifically for that musician. 

Democrats lean left.  Republicans lean right.  Which is better?  The answer is that we need both for our system of government to keep its balance.

Before it was discovered how the circulatory system of the body worked, people believed that a vein of blood ran directly from the third finger of the left hand and chose the name vena amori, which is Latin for the vein of love.  This is one of the reasons given for placing the wedding band there.  The heart, we now know, is on the left side of the body.

In medieval England, a bridegroom would slide the ring part way up his bride’s thumb, index and middle finger, saying “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost” as he passed each one.  He then put the ring on the next available finger - the third finger of the left hand.  This practice was finally formalized in the 1500s which gave rise to modern Protestant wedding vows.

In his book Right-Hand, Left-Hand, Chris McManus argues that the proportion of left-handers is increasing and left-handed people as a group have historically produced an above-average quota of high achievers.  He says that left-handers’ brains are structured differently in a way that increases their range of abilities.

God makes this happen.  He determines whether we are right or left-handed.  Three of our last four presidents have been left-handed.

God says, “I have written your names on the palms of my hands.” ~ Isaiah 49:16  Let us celebrate the wonder of how God has created us all!  And know that He created us just as we are so that we can play our special part in His holy work of salvation.