Scars are like tattoos. They tell a story of a life lived and denote pain endured by the bearer.
Do you have any scars? Do you have any great stories from the experience you had when you got those scars? Is the story a more devastating one than a victorious one?
I have a couple of scars, but they are merely from surgeries or procedures I’ve had done. So nothing really in which to brag. There’s one on my left abdomen from my appendectomy and there is one on my left shoulder.
The one on my left shoulder is from my time overseas fighting the war in Iraq. It’s a stab wound I received while a member of Seal Team Six. Osama Bin Laden’s son got me…I’m just kidding. I never went overseas. It’s from a procedure I had to remove a pre-cancerous spot on my skin. It is prominently visible on my shoulder. So, I have come up with a war story to make it more interesting for the many times I have been asked.
My brother, Ray, has a couple of scars that have some pretty crazy stories. One scar wraps around his right hand from where he almost lost it completely in an auger at work. The auger’s job was to separate metal, but this one separated his skin and muscle from his bone. The pictures were gruesome.
Ray has a few other scars and I was present when he got them. Two are from a bike riding accident that was pretty gruesome. We were riding bikes down a large hill not long after he had learned to ride. He lost control, flipped the bike, and gashed open his forehand and chin.
The other scar is over his left eyebrow and is kind of a funny story. Ray and I were pretty young when MC Hammer came on the scene. However, we really liked his music. Whenever the music video for “You Can’t Touch This” came on, another side of Ray came out.
One night the song came on the TV, Ray started dancing, spun around, lost his balance, and fell, hitting his head on the coffee table. It split his eyebrow wide open. My uncle was watching us and he felt horrible that he hadn’t prevented the accident. He cleaned up the wound and we looked inside the wound. Waiting for our parents to get back (we couldn’t call them on a cellphone because there was no such thing at the time) seemed like an eternity. Ray finished his night with a trip to the doctor and got a butterfly bandage. The doctor chose to use the butterfly bandage to limit the scarring.
Sometimes we have funny stories that go along with our scars, however, sometimes the stories are more tragic. Cancer, falls no one should survive, car accidents, and surgeries gone wrong to name a few. Some of us have scars we hope no one will notice, or at the very least, will be noticed after they get to know us. Our story is somewhat sacred and telling how we received the scar is letting someone into our humanity. Many of us want to be invincible but our scars remind us of our frailty.
Emotional scars are some of the hardest to see, but there is a story behind each one of them as well. Sometimes I think we are hoping people will ask us about these scars. Telling the story would make us feel better. We really want to let out all the pain and emotion we have bottled up for so long. We just don’t know how to do so without coming across as complaining about our lives.
You’ve heard people quote 1 Peter 5:7,
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you.”
But, scars feel so much bigger than just worries or cares. They are deep wounds, which may have healed with time, but they keep us up at night, awaken us from sleep, and bring back the memories all to real. Someone or something has hurt you so deeply that you will never forget a single detail of the experience.
These scars can make it hard to get up in the morning or to even function normally in society. Many of us develop scar tissue, that will, in the blink of an eye, painfully remind us it is there.
When I was 10, I stepped on a nail which was poking up through a board my dad had just pulled off of my grandma’s back porch. He told me to be careful and not walk around or I might step on a nail. He was right. It went through my foot and scratched the bone. Over time, though there is not an outward scar, I developed scar tissue. From time to time, it hurts so bad I have to sit down. It reminds me of the accident that happened more than 25 years ago.
We all have scars, however, we put on our mask, hide what is really going on, longing for someone to care, but hoping no one notice that we are hurting. It’s crazy because we want people to know us deeply and to know the hurts and struggles we’ve had, but we also don’t want to let people that close to us. Maybe, it’s because vulnerability leaves us open to experience more hurt and pain. We’d rather wall ourselves off, than be completely vulnerable with others.
As someone who has hidden behind a mask for a long time, trying to hide what was really going on in my life, the best way to overcome those wounds is to let someone in. It takes us letting a friend in that can speak life into our situation. We have to understand that we are not the only ones with scars. Everyone has them. They all look different, feel different, but have a story. We are not alone. There are people who genuinely care and want to help us heal as we help them heal.
Time can heal wounds, however, scars remind us of a past that really happened. If your physical body has a deep enough wound, you go to a doctor who will stitch, staple, or even butterfly bandage it up to limit scarring. But, that is where their ability stops, healing the broken body. They cannot heal our broken hearts, our broken spirits which the scar leaves in its wake.
Jesus is the only one whom can heal our emotional wounds. The scar will never go away, but the story from the scar can be transformed from a tragedy into a love story.
Jesus loves us and He wants to heal our hearts. We may have to re-open those wounds through vulnerability. When scars don’t heal right the first time, the scarring can be awful and infection can wreak havoc. Re-opening those wounds will allow Jesus to heal them in a way we never thought possible, and to limit the scarring.
Jesus knows what we have gone through. He knows the pain and the heartache we have had to endure. None of it is a surprise to Him. He doesn’t look down on us because of how we have responded in the past. Jesus is the only one who can heal us. Isaiah 53:5 says,
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”
Jesus isn’t ashamed of you or what you have gone through. He loves you and wants to heal your wounds, limit the scarring and the effect that it has on your life. You’ve just got to let Him in to do His work. The scar will always be there as a reminder of the story, the tragedy that once was. But, if you allow Jesus in, it will also be a reminder of a love so great.
Going to Jesus is like going to the doctor, for the real you.