When Flaw Became Awe

The Following is an excerpt from my forthcoming eBook titled: “Lessons from the Village…”

When Flaw Became Awe

Many readers will remember growing up with left-handedness being viewed as a stigma. People once scolded their children into using their right hands, thereby forcing them to do things the “right” way. For instance, Ronald Reagan was forced to use his right hand after being born a left-hander. Languages across many cultures speak for themselves concerning the right way of doing things. For instance, the Latin word for left is sinistra (which has come to mean evil), and in French it is guache (which translates into awkward or clumsy). In the English language we use left-handedness in phrases with negative connotations such as “a left-handed compliment” (which nobody wants) or someone smoking “left-handed cigarettes,” which no parent wants to hear of his or her child. In contrast, the Latin word for right is dexter (the root word for dexterous), and in French, the word for right is droit (the root word for adroit).  During Medieval times, one always shook with the right hand, for the left hand was used to do – let’s just say euphemistically – the “dirty” work. Therefore, attempting to touch or lay hands on people with the left hand was not right, or courteous. Left-handed people, although they are in their right minds (biologically anyway), were once viewed by society as possessing wayward, cursed qualities.

My daughter is left-handed, and I even found myself trying to correct her a time or two as she began taking preference during her developmental years. I just wanted her to be like the other 85% of people in the world and have it easy; however, I was reminded of a good war story. Now, whether you are a Christian or not, everyone loves a good unsung-hero war story. Therefore, I share with you Ehud from the Bible (Judges 3:12 – 28). First of all, he was a Benjamite who was left-handed. An irony exists here which further highlights the point, for Benjamin (his parental tribe) literally means “son of my right hand.” Therefore, the Bible wants you to know that something is different about Ehud. There is a unique quality about him that is unlike most others.

When Ehud went to face the sinister king of Moab, he had to first sneak past the guards. The guards frequently checked the left thigh of people upon entry, for most people were right-handed (even back then). Any war veteran knows that you do not want to draw either a sword or dagger from the same side as your fighting hand, but the weapon (unless a gun) should be placed on the opposite side. Therefore, the Bible notes that the left-handed Ehud strapped his dagger to his right thigh. Thus, he would now be able to go in undetected. Ehud and the children of Israel entered the courtyard to bring a present to the King of Moab, named Eglon. After delivering the present to Eglon, Ehud asked the others that came with him to leave, for he had a secret message for the King.

The King then dismissed all that were with him as well, and Ehud was able to approach Eglon alone. As the King stood up, Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” Ehud then proceeded to draw out the dagger from his right thigh and stab the dastardly King Eglon in the belly, and the fat enclosed the blade; the Bible apparently also wants us to know that the King was fat, among other gross things if you read one line further.

But, my point is this: Ehud’s supposed societal “flaw” afforded him the opportunity to do something no one else could accomplish. In fact, it was his “flaw” that enabled this great story of “awe.” Perhaps my daughter’s left-handedness is alright after all. Of course, I am joking. I love my daughter just the way she is. Our own unique differences afford each of us an opportunity to accomplish tasks that others cannot. As it says in I Corinthians 1:27, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (NIV) So, I encourage everyone to find his or her weakness, or perceived flaw, and see how it can in fact be a hidden strength. We all know left-handers smear ink when writing, can’t use non-electric can openers, and have a harder time learning to drive a stick shift than righties; however, southpaws are also more intimidating in the ring and always in their right minds. I personally would take these positives over the negatives any day!

Back to Homepage

2 Responses to “When Flaw Became Awe”

  • JennyV:

    Being a lefty, I can attest to all these things and more, and I laughed out loud at the not being able to use an electric can opener thing! Yes, I do occasionally still smear ink (thank God for computers!), but I didn’t have trouble with a stickshift. I think that might have come from playing an instrument early on and teaching both sides to work together. Maybe that’s really the point. Both sides have things of value to bring to the table when they learn to work together!

    • Joey Johnson:

      Hey Jenny, thanks for the comment! I noticed the “smearing ink” problem with my daughter whenever she writes. Perhaps a computer will fix that for her too=)

Leave a Reply