The Word of the Month: "Skin" — Novella McClung

The word for today is skin. Skin is something we all have and need. A friend used to sing “Everybody’s gotta have skin, everybody’s gotta have skin! It’s the stuff that keeps your innards in. Everybody’s gotta have skin.”

Skin is God given to protect our bodies from rain and sunshine. Skin protects us from hot and cold. Skin protects us from germs. Our friend’s little ditty is right, “everybody’s gotta have skin.” Ancient cultures literally flayed their enemies’ skin. Today we tend to do the same thing with words. Neither way was/is acceptable.

Skin has a variety of meanings. You can peel skin from fruits and vegetables. Skin covers food and dairy products. In jazz, skin refers to a drum. Skin can bleed, bruise or repair itself as in covering over a scrape. Skin can be grafted. The word skin is used in reference to being swindled and in the sordid business of pornography.

Skin can be “thin”, as one who allows every comment to become personal. A thin skinned person cannot handle criticisms or insults. The opposite of thin skin is “thick” skin. The person with thick skin is not sensitive to criticisms or insults. They appear tough and hard – unless you are talking about their Mama! That’s a whole, new area to discuss another time.

Skin will sag – if you are not in this boat, just wait – it will come! You can exercise to the hilt. You can have it fixed at the doctor’s office. You can buy expensive creams. You can try remedy after remedy but eventually your skin will sag. Skin will also tan, burn and have spots. Just like sagging, you will end up dealing with what you have because “everybody’s gotta have skin… to keep your innards in.”

Skin has needs. It should be clean. I’m sure all those around you would agree! The proper care of skin includes drinking water. To some that appears as a novel idea but our skin must have water along with eating good foods. Sorry to tell you but a diet of chocolate, milk or dark, is not good for the skin. All skin needs sun protection too.

There are many idioms (words that say one thing and have another meaning) using skin. We remark, “They are skin and bones” or “she gets under my skin.” Beauty can be “skin deep” and we can be soaked to the skin or someone will “make your skin crawl.”

One use of skin that sticks in my mind is trying to “escape by the skin of my teeth”. This phrase comes from Job 19:20. Job has endured many trials. He comments he has barely escaped death after losing all his possessions and health. We know teeth do not have skin. That is the point. Job was using common words to mean something else.

Many people today live by this philosophy. They face life thinking they will “escape by the skin of their teeth.” In some areas they might, such as barely winning a game of Crazy Eights, passing an exam or beating a red light. Others live this philosophy in their relationship to the Lord. They really believe they will escape their eternal destination “by the skin of their teeth.” That is not how it works!

Every day we make decisions. Some are forced, some are made for us but with eternity it is personal. God grants us the choice – have a relationship with Him or not. There is no escaping “by the skin of your teeth.” Because God is Holy and we are not we must choose. In order to have a relationship with God you must accept God’s plan of salvation. God sent His only Son, Jesus, who took our sins through His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus knew it was not and is not by “the skin of your teeth”. Eternity is by choice! Let your skin “keep your innards in” and put your trust in Jesus.