Although most don’t think of carpentry as a dangerous occupation, woodworking often exposes the craftsman to hazardous situations and potential injury. As a young boy, most of the craftsmen I encountered were missing parts of one or two fingers, and frequently one of the lost digits was a thumb.

A few months ago I was reminded of these dangers as I swung my hammer directly into my thumb while attempting to install a long piece of siding while standing on a ladder. One of the problems with working alone is that we all only have two hands, and no matter how dexterous we are, there are often times when two hands is just not enough. This is especially true when you need to hold the siding, a nail, and a hammer all at the same time. This certainly wasn’t the first time I hit my thumb—in fact, I still recall the stars I saw and the searing pain shooting up my arm as a teenager when I hit another finger in similar circumstances. Generally, within a week or so, the thumb heals and the pain disappears, but what always remains is the reminder of the injury as you walk around for months with a thumbnail that has a big black mark resulting from the blood being trapped under the nail.

This time I hit my thumbnail and the nail bed, the part where the nail grows out from. The result is that for the past three months I have had a big ugly mark slowly moving out as my nail grows. The pain departed months ago, so the black mark is not a big deal…except for the fact that people constantly notice it and then, of course, have to comment on it. My injured finger truly has stood out “like a sore thumb.”

 Most people are aware of the shifts and changes in society happening around them. As a follower of Jesus, I need to remind myself that I will stand out more and more like a sore thumb as my Christian ethics and values collide with the increasing unraveling of society and the culture around me. I need to accept and embrace that my Christian worldview and anchoring in the truth of God’s Word is incompatible with what is often promoted in in the media, arts & entertainment, progressive liberalism, and education. I need be okay with social rejection, the loss of “friends,” and being slandered. We all need to accept that standing with Jesus means we will be standing out like a sore thumb.

Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”