Most all our bodies are marked by them. Most all of us wish they weren’t.
We generally view scars to be blemishes to the body’s beauty and purity.
They are signs that one’s body has been harmed. It may have been due to a freak accident. It may have been due to abuse; either self-inflicted or inflicted by others. It may have been due to the harmful consequences of an unwise decision. It may have been due to a life-saving or life-giving surgery. It may have been due to an intentional effort to try to improve the looks of the body. But scars are signs that one’s flesh has been openly wounded in some fashion.
The events that scar the physical body usually scar the emotions and soul as well.
Each time we experience the tenderness or numbness of a scar, we are reminded of the way things were before we were wounded. Each time we glimpse a blemish, our mind relives the events which opened the wound. Each time we relive those events, we reflect upon their impact upon our character, our personality, our emotional stability, our interaction with others, and our spiritual beliefs.
Scars produce a variety of reflections and emotions. Some bring back pleasant memories of carefree childhood days; a time when our mama was always there to fix any wound we received while playing. Some remind us of the joy we felt when we heard our baby’s first cry. Some help us to be thankful that we didn’t suffer the full consequences of our stupid youthful actions. Some give us relief that the doctors were able to perform preventive surgery before a major health issue occurred.
But many scars produce negative reflections and emotions. Each time we feel them, we cringe in fear once again. Each time we see them, our mind begins to reel over and over, out of control, as if we were in that somersaulting vehicle once more. Each time we wash them, we hear the abusive words that accompanied the abusive blows which opened the wounds.
Many of us spend much of our lives trying to deal with the events which have scarred our body, soul, and spirit. We want so much to put these events behind us. We desire to not be afraid, or bitter, or resentful, or filled with hate. Though we wish they had never happened and we wonder why they did occur, we realize that the events cannot be undone.
So, how do we deal with life’s scars?
The simplest answer is to say, “Give your life to Jesus, and let him take care of your burden.” But that is a simple statement summarizing a complex process.
Jesus is the answer to life’s problems, but he does not erase the past, nor does he create completely smooth sailing for the future. Jesus does not create a pain free life for his servants. Instead, he helps them deal with the pain they encounter through love, forgiveness, selflessness, and hope. Jesus exemplifies each of these and then enables his followers to practice them. The problems and memories do not fade away, because the scars are always there. But as we grow in Christ, the events that caused the scars take on a different meaning. And the feelings we have toward those who may have inflicted the wounds transform from bitter hatred to forgiving love.
Scars can rob us of all joy in life or they can provide a continuous opportunity to add more joy to each breath we take. The difference between the two is attitude. Experiencing Jesus’ love can help transform our pain into healing.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” – Jesus (Luke 23:34) ESV
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” – Stephen (Acts 7:60) ESV
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5) ESV
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