they would speak a thousand things

Archive for August, 2011

Wounds to Scars

Jesus said…”If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…So if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.” – John 8:31-32, 36

The only reason we can be free is because of Christ. When you confess your sins and accept Jesus as LORD and Savior, He heals you, but the reason He has the authority to heal you is because He died an excruciating death on the cross.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquitites; upon him was the punishment that brought us peace, and by his stripes we are healed.” –Isaiah 53:5

Many of us have heard this verse quoted to explain what occurred that day on the cross at Calvary, but I want to dig into it a little deeper. Notice the words used to describe Jesus’ experience: wounded, crushed, punishment, stripes. All of these connote extreme pain, the first three all suggest physical injury and abuse, but the last seems rather vague, so I want to focus in on the fourth: stripes.

Usually, when one thinks of stripes, one thinks of horizontal or vertical lines used as a pattern for clothing, interior decorating, or on a zebra’s hide. However, on definition of stripes is “marks.” I believe that in this passage, when Isaiah uses the word “stripes,” it does not simply mean “wounds,” but it goes deeper than that, meaning Jesus’ body was marked in His hands and feet from the nails, His side from the spear, and His back from the whips. Not only was Jesus wounded, but after He was raised from the dead, He still had the scars from those wounds. “Doubting Thomas” did not believe Jesus was alive when the disciples told him they had seen Him.

He said, “‘Unless I see in his hands the MARK of the nails, and place my finger into the MARK of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’” –John 20:25b [bold and caps mine]

Then Jesus showed up and let Thomas touch His scars, or “marks,” from where He had been wounded, and Thomas believed Jesus truly had been risen from the dead.

Jennifer Beckham writes in her book Get Over Yourself!, “Have you ever wondered why God had the ability to raise Jesus from the dead, yet He never bothered to remove the scars?” (189). I hadn’t thought about it until I read her book, but after thinking on that concept for a while, I realized there MUST be a reason for God purposefully leaving scars on Jesus’ body, despite the fact that when He was raised from the dead, He was perfected in His body and restored to His high position at the right hand of God.

When a cut or a wound heals, it often leaves a scar behind. I believe God allowed Jesus to retain His scars to remind us that He was human also and experienced trials and temptations just as we do. They make clear to us that it is okay to have a past, to have been tempted, to have experienced pain, to have sinned and messed up. Scars are leftover from past hurts to remind us of what we’ve walked through and how God has healed us.

Your scars may remind you of your past, but you can use those memories to show others where you’ve come from and how you never intend to go back. Jennifer says, “If He [God] intended for us to forget the past, He would have also erased our memory of it when He forgave us, just as He would have healed us without scars if He wanted us to forget about what happened there” (203).

Yet once you have been completely healed by God, those scars left over from your past pain will be transformed and become your story. Your scars are a testimony – tangible proof – that there was once an ugly wound, but now you’ve been healed and restored by God. No one can refute or argue with your story, you own it and it will forever testify of God’s love, grace, and healing lavished upon you.

As Joyce Meyer says, “there is always a why behind the what.” Your scars, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, are the greatest storytellers of all time, and, as Jennifer Beckham puts it, “God wants us to use our past to minister to someone else’s future” (203). Allow your scars to speak hope and healing into someone else’s life today. If you believe your testimony is not important, know this: your story is invaluable (essential, priceless, indispensable) to defeating the enemy, Satan, AND to sharing God’s love with others.

“And they have conquered him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus] and by the word of their testimony.” –Revelation 12:11

Remember, your testimony is important and powerful: it could literally change someone’s journey and transform them from death to life! Someone is waiting on you; don’t let the shame of your past prevent you from changing his or her life!

My prayer for you and for me is that we would each tell our stories and that they can reach someone who is going through what we’ve been through. The title of my blog is “If scars could talk.” Why not allow your scars to talk?! They have a unique story to tell! Think of that person out there whose life would be changed forever IF ONLY your scars would talk…

 


Wounds

Do you feel like you “just can’t live like this anymore”?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been hurt many times in your past, but you’ve simply refused to deal with your pain, burying it deep inside, hoping that the popular saying “time heals all wounds” will be true in your life. Do you often avoid dealing with your pain by subsequently creating yet another wound for yourself (either physically, emotionally, or spiritually), which inevitably welcomes even more pain that continues to mask that original pain – the ROOT? If any of that describes your life at all, today is the day to STOP DISTRACTING YOURSELF and deal with that beastly pain once and for all.

The first thing you must do to begin healing is to: acknowledge your current pain. In order to acknowledge your “condition,” you have to uncover your wounds, essentially remove the “masks” you have hid behind for so long. You must rip off that old band aid! Because by covering it up, you are denying your pain ever happened, and that simply causes more festering (rotting, spoiling, decaying, destroyed, weakening, tainted, corrupted, polluted, and contamination) of your wound. When you keep a wound covered and in the dark, it heals slower. Sunlight actually heals the wound faster than keeping a band aid on it! Jesus can “shine a light on the dark places and fill up those gaping wounds in our hearts” (*Beckham). So let that light shine on the dark, hidden places in your life!

“Behold, I will bring it to health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security…I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.” -Jeremiah 33:6,8

If a wound stays in the dark for too long unattended to, it becomes INFECTED.

“He shall remain unclean as long as he has the infection. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” -Leviticus 13:46

An infected wound HURTS! Satan, your enemy, can use that pain to imbue (permeate or infuse) emotions such as bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness inour hearts. These toxic emotions only lead us into more pain, despair, and hopelessness. Isn’t it lonely when you’re hurting? And you isolate yourself even more when you’re hurting, by lashing out in anger, withdrawing from relationship, or wallowing in your pain. But – in order to heal in infected injury, the doctor has to slice open the wound so that it can heal from the inside out.

Jesus said, “First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside may also be clean.” – Matthew 23:26b

The opening of the wound will hurt more, BUT your wound will never heal until you take off that bandage and let God slice open your heart.The chorus of the song “From the Inside Out” by Hillsong says, “In my heart and my soul / Lord, I give you control / consume me from the inside out.” This speaks to me personally, and tells me that I I have to surrender to God everything: my heart that’s wounded, my soul that reasons away the pain, and my mind that seeks to control the situation. IF I do that, THEN the Great Physician and our Ultimate Healer will heal my infected wounds “from the inside out.”

Your wound inevitably will be ugly, especially if it’s been kept in the dark for a long time, but you must look at it and admit that it happened. It’s yours, you have to take ownership for it! And it has to be dealt with, not just coped with.

The second thing you need to do to start healing is to take a look at how you got here in this condition, with hidden and infected wounds. In order to move forward with your life without your wounds, you have to move back – travel back in time – to find when and how the wounds were initially inflicted. God already knows what and who have caused you pain; yet revisiting memories is not for God’s benefit, it is for yours: for you to learn something and ultimately to be healed. I don’t know what has happened in your past, but you certainly do. Often, we hold bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness in our hearts. When we do that, though the infected wound may begin to heal and maybe even scab over a little, but as soon as something or someone reminds us of our painful past, those memories flood in and that scab rips right off and becomes a blatantly open wound once again.

Biblically speaking, you will reap only that which you sow. Thus, if I sowed good seed, such as tithes or words of affirmation to a friend or mowing my elderly neighbor’s lawn for her, I will reap good things, which could manifest as any number of things like prosperity, a promotion, breakthrough in a particularly rough relationship or situation, etc. God wants to bless us, but He will only do that if we are sowing good seed. In your life, just as mine and everyone else’s, you have no doubt suffered pain and injustice caused by others and/or by yourself. These would be bad seed sown into your life. Thus, you have developed as a result, those wounds that have become infected that I’ve been discussing. But you can change all of that today by doing what I am suggesting. The means to turn your life around are at your fingertips; all you have to do is sow good seed – go be good to someone who has hurt you, or who is hurting and bless them – and God will in turn bless you.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed.” – James 5:16

Jesus wants you to confess your sins to Him and to each other so He can give you what you’ve been craving all along: unconditional love and acceptance. When you speak out loud and acknowledge the truth, it WILL set you free!

Jesus said…”If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…So if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.” – John 8:31-32, 36

Sow confession to REAP healing:

Rip off the old bandage

Expose those wounds to the light

Allow God to heal you through confession

Put faith in your freedom in Christ

*Resources:

“Get Over Yourself!” by Jennifer Beckham