When is it ok to tell people that you do not want to shake their hand or allow them to touch you?
I put this question up on Facebook the other day and I got some good feedback, so I would like to unpack this a little more. I feel it is important that people understand and respect other people’s feelings.
So for those of you who do not know me, let me share briefly about me so you know where I am coming from. I am a very touchy person and my primary love language is touch, I love to hug people and I love to get hugs. I hold my wife’s hand and adult daughter’s and son’s hand whenever I get a chance.
When I am with my best friend, who is from South America, he will touch my arm as he is talking and I do the same to him. I don’t think I would be able to survive if I could not touch people.
Now back to the question, when is it ok to tell someone that you don’t want to be touched? Is it wrong to ask someone to not to touch you and allow another person to hug you?
The answer is; yes, you have the right to tell anyone at any time not to touch you for any reason.
Some of you may be struggling to understand why anyone would not what to be respectful and shake someone’s hand. Let’s take a deeper look at what is happening when you touch someone.
Physical touch is an act of affection and intimacy; it creates a deeper connection between the two people. And because we are spiritual beings, touching someone will amplify the spirit connection between the people, in both good and bad ways.
And therein lies the problem, because physical touch is intimate, it can create some deep anxiety in some people. I am not writing this to explain the anxiety or what causes the anxiety. I am here to raise awareness that this can be a very serious problem for someone that feels they do not have a choice.
One person said I shake hands with anyone because I can wash my hands afterward. My reply was, “What I am concerned about does not wash off with soap, what I am referring to is spiritual. There is a transfer of energy when you touch someone skin to skin.”
We need to be aware there can be transfers of spiritual forces when someone touches you, or lays hands on you and prays for you.
This is a deep subject with so many variables, so please understand that what I am writing is not by any means an all-encompassing understanding of physical touch or spirit transfer.
Another person said something to the effect that if you love others, you have no problem shaking their hand or touching them.
It is not about love, it is about discernment. We are to discern spirits, and there is a time to confront them and there is a time to avoid them.
The battle we are fighting is a spiritual battle which is fought in our minds, so we also need to know when to fight and when to walk away and even when to not touch something or someone that is defiled.
Interestingly, there are a lot of people that do not have the discernment of spirits 1 Corinthians 12:9 talks about.
How many times did you feel that something was not right about someone you know, and others told you, “Don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with that person” and later you find out they were a very bad person?
Some people will call that a vibe or they say they felt something in the pit of their stomach. That is your spirit discerning what is happening in the other person. It is better to take safe precautions and be wrong, than to trust something you do not feel right about and get hurt.
We are a spirit being living in a physical body; in that body we have a mind that will ultimately make the final decision; the mind will always make the final choice, not the spirit. When the spirit empowers the mind, the mind will be able to make better choices.
Here is why you need to be aware of who and what is around you. And I know that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. I also know that He who is in me allows me to make as many stupid mistakes as I want to.
He who is in me is the Spirit of God, and He will never force me to do or think anything I do not want to. He will make suggestions, sometimes very strong suggestions. However, in the end He will never make me do anything or stop me from doing what I want.
Because I alone am the one that will decide what I will think and do in life, I also need to be aware that I will have times of weakness.
“A weak and humble person that knows their weakness is stronger than the strongest person in the world.”
No one is strong or empowered all the time, and this is why “EQ”, Emotional Intelligence, is one of the most important factors in spiritual warfare. When you are in an empowered state of mind and your spirit is strong, nothing will be able to get on you or in you!
And the same is true if you are in a disempowered state of mind and your spirit is weak, what is around you will get on you or in you. This brings us to the most important part of this blog, “emotional awareness.”
We need to be wise as a serpent and gentle as doves. In this wisdom we need to be aware of or state of being. We need to understand that we are never going to be on the top of our game all the time and that is ok.
Even Jesus had to go away and rest, He needed to get away from everything. Matthew 14:23 said He went and was alone. He was very “Emotionally Aware,” and He needed to get away from the people.
We also need to be able to set safe boundaries when we know that we are not feeling empowered. Wisdom is knowing your enemy, and when to engage in battle and when to retreat.
Have you ever noticed that you will come under attack more when you are tired or overwhelmed? That is by design, the enemy knows that you are at your weakest point and he can get you to make a mistake easier.
I have no doubt in my mind that we are more powerful than our enemy and we can conquer every battle. I also see that too many people are losing a lot of battles because they do not have discernment or wisdom, and this is much worse when they are tired or weak.
I am sure you are able to understand my point better now when I say, “Please do not touch me.” I am not saying I do not love people, I am saying I am aware of my state of being and I will not allow outside influence to affect me when I am disempowered.
And that can include not allowing people from whom I’m getting bad vibes to not touch me. This is in no way a lack of love, this is being wise and being emotionally aware, so I don’t become a senseless causality of war.
You cannot be mentally weak and spiritually strong, your mind will allow the spirit to lead or it will stop the spirit. So if you are struggling with something in your emotions you can choose with your mind to praise God or wordship Him and your spirit will come alive.
When your spirit comes alive you will be strong until your emotions get hit with something that is stronger than your willingness to love that person or trust God for what is happening.
You faith is only as strong as your emotions will allow it to be, when your emotions (your fleshly desires) take over, your faith stops and your mind is back in control again. And now you are no longer lead by the spirit.
When you are in a disempowered state, meaning you are not feeling on top of your game or you are feeling depressed, you are opening yourself up to receive what is around you. That is why it is very, very important who you are around when you are feeling down.
Whoever is the most empowered will influence the other person. Because you will never be strong all the time, you should always be aware of your state of being as well as your surroundings.
In closing, if someone does not want you to touch them or lay a hand on them to pray, do not be offended. They are dealing with things you do not know anything about. Respect them and do not be offended, because it is their choice.
You will not be strong all the time; however you can be aware all the time. Pay very close attention to your state of being, be aware of your emotions and who is around you. It is not wrong to avoid people you know will drain you.
The number one rule in rescue is, “Always protect yourself first or you will have two victims.” If you do not feel empowered or you feel weak, you are allowed to hang up your super hearo suit for a time to rest and get your power back again.
I hope this is helpful and you will find the courage to say, “please don’t touch me” if you ever need to.
Papa Ray Hurst