Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe. Thomas answered him, “My Lord, my God!” Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” – John 20:27-29.
As my friend Rob says, come the first Sunday in Easter and doubting Thomas takes center stage. There are many lessons packed into these two verses, but there is one that is for people of all faiths. It is about being vulnerable, and seeing others vulnerabilities.
Humans are reticent to show our wounds, especially men. No, I’m not talking about my teammates who sit around and compare surgical scars. I’m talking about showing those wounds that make us vulnerable, have left scars on our heart, or may be seen in macho culture as being not cool to reveal about ourselves. Yet, can we really understand our fellow man or woman if we can’t see or understand their pain, their weakness, those areas where they are vulnerable. Jesus readily shows Thomas his wounds so that not only will Thomas believe, but also so that he might understand. These verses tell us that if it is necessary we must open up, show our scars, and wounds, to let people understand who we are. For some we must let them see the complete picture.
The verses also contain a call to see the wounds, the pain, the vulnerability of our fellow humans without them having to expose themselves first. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet come to believe.” I suggest you can read his words to mean that we shouldn’t have to see our neighbors wounds or pain in the flesh or literally hear their cries, before we understand their needs. We shouldn’t have to witness the pain of the poor, the homeless, the sick, or the oppressed to know what is required of us. We don’t need to touch to be touched, in other words.
Whatever our faith, we must not be reticent to be open about our own vulnerabilities, and we must try hard to see others’ wounds, as well.