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Commitment Touch

December 6, 2022

“Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man” (Mark 1:41a, BSB).

She’s had a difficult life. I suspect she is rejected by many for her unusual and needy personality. She described for me her experience with recent pulmonary function tests. “What really got me was when the technician reached out and touched me. I just lost it,” she shared with tears on her cheeks.

Touching was central to Jesus’ ministry of healing. He did not have to touch to heal, as He demonstrated a time or two, but He chose to touch almost every time.

Touching comes naturally to some of us; to others it is a skill and a discipline. Today in church a friend told me about a recent encounter with his doctor for his annual exam. “Someone drew my blood, and another took my blood pressure. The doctor asked me a lot of questions, but he never really examined me.”

There may be a difference of opinion about how much touching is needed for an annual clinical exam, but I would suggest there should be no difference of opinion about our relational exam.

Do we approach those who need healing the way Jesus did?

Do we have a regular, disciplined habit of touching our patients, not just with a clinical touch to accomplish an exam but with a commitment touch?

I saw what it meant to this patient.

With every patient, at some time during our evaluation, do we deliberately turn our eyes away from the computer, place our hand on their shoulder or knee, look them in the eyes and allow commitment to flow from our hearts through our hands?

If we care and touch in this way with every patient, some who do not feel loved will know they are loved. Some who do not know Christ will listen when we speak His name.

Dear God,
Help me to touch with commitment.

Al Weir, MD

Al Weir, MD

After leaving academic medicine, Dr. Weir served in private practice at the West Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee from 1991-2005 before joining the CMDA staff as Vice President of Campus & Community Ministries where he served for three years from 2005-2008. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He is also President of Albanian Health Fund, an educational ministry to Albania where he has been serving for 20 years. He is the author of two books: When Your Doctor Has Bad News and Practice by the Book. Dr. Weir’s work has also been published in many medical journals and other publications. Al and his wife Becky live in Memphis, Tennessee, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Weir is currently serving on CMDA's Board of Trustees.

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