A couple of months ago, a friend on Facebook posted the following meme… to which I felt the need to respond. I said that this meme is Biblically inaccurate. Although right-handedness or the right hand in general is considered a sign of strength (in the Bible and elsewhere), there is not anything in the Bible that says that being left-handed is a sin.
My friend deleted the meme in response to my comments because he did not want to post something inaccurate. He did message me in private to say that he had heard before that left-handedness was a sin which is why people were punished for using their left hand in the middle ages and even more recently… sometimes by the church. I told him that I would research left-handedness in a Biblical context and get back to him.
The first thing I noticed was that I was not sure at all where the “25 times” in the meme came from. Looking in my New International Version (NIV) Bible Concordance… I can only find 12 times where it actually says “left hand (ed).” There are many more than 25 occasions where it says “right hand (ed).”
As I mentioned above, there is nothing in the Bible that says being left-handed is a sin. The notion is taken from Biblical mentions of the right hand being a sign of strength and power. If you think about it, throughout history when talking about kings and kingdoms, the right hand man, etc. has more power. Or considering that being right-handedness is a dominant trait, more people will have better strength in their right hand and right arm. When the Bible talks about God’s kingdom or God’s right hand it is to illustrate that power in a way humans would understand based on how kingdoms and power work on earth.
Here are all the instances where the Bible talks about being left handed that I could find. Passages are listed first (NIV) and my commentary in brackets is under each passage.
Genesis 48:13-14 “And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.”
[Traditionally when giving a death bed blessing the right hand is placed on the head. By switching hands and putting his right hand on the youngest son, he gave him a bigger blessing. However, they were both blessed AND both of Joseph’s sons became 2 of the 12 tribes of Israel.]
Leviticus 14:15, 26 “The priest shall then take some of the log of oil, pour it in the palm of his own left hand,…” “The priest is to pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand,…”
[These are part of instructions to a priestly ritual.]
Judges 3:15 “Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab.”
[Reading this chapter in context, it tells the story of Ehud, from the tribe of Benjamin, going to give tribute to an evil king. Ehud tells the king he has a secret message and plunges his sword in the king’s belly. The king was so fat that the sword was hidden and Ehud was able to escape before servants found the dead king. Because Ehud was left handed (which was unusual), he had his sword attached to his right side and people would not have noticed it.]
Judges 7:20 “The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”
Judges 16:29 “Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,”
Judges 20:16 “Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred select troops who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.”
[The tribe of Benjamin was known for having many left handed people… like Ehud.]
1 Chronicles 6:44 ” and from their associates, the Merarites, at his left hand: Ethan son of Kishi, the son of Abdi, the son of Malluk,”
[This chapter is listing genealogy.]
1 Chronicles 12:2 “they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin)”
[Archers and soldiers were often ambidextrous and again these men were from the tribe of Benjamin]
Daniel 12:7 “The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
[A man delivering a message to Daniel in a vision. Both hands are equal in this passage.]
Matthew 6:3 “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,”
[In context, this is talking about not bragging when giving to the needy. We should give in humility not expecting praise from man.]
Also, I am going to be blunt here… but hopefully not in a way that will be perceived as judgmental because that is not my intent. Ultimately, the meme is an attack on Biblical Christianity for the purpose of justifying the LGBT lifestyles. Not only did it distort the Bible but it mocked it. The Bible is either Truth or it is not. It can’t be both. Many people living or supporting LGBT lifestyles say they are Christians yet completely try to justify their lifestyle by using the Bible. It can’t be done for the following reasons:
*100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
*100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
*0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind. There are no exceptions for “committed” relationships.
Here is a blog post that I wrote last year after the SCOTUS ruling in favor of gay marriage which expands on my position on this matter: A Conservative Perspective
I completely understand that there are people who do not believe the Bible is God’s word. Ultimately, that is between them and God which is why Christians should be loving and respectful to those who believe differently than we do (whether on this subject or others). We should not have a judgmental attitude towards others however, it is not wrong to respectfully teach what the Bible says in context especially when people distort & mock it to fit their agenda. And it is not wrong to respectfully debate differences of opinion. I have many friends and a few family members who are gay. Most of them know my beliefs on the subject but still know that I still love them as my friends and family.
Feel free to voice your opinions and engage in respectful debate in the comments. However, any comments that are disrespectful, use inappropriate language, etc. will be deleted.