When you cut yourself you quickly clean it up and place a bandage on the wound. If it is bad enough, you may seek medical attention and possibly get stitches. Most of the time you heal and maybe have a scar as a reminder of what happened. I remember this time from when we lived in Guinea Bissau that someone came to our house with a machete wound. He had been out cleaning his cashew orchard and cut his ankle with his machete. He came hoping I could help him. I am not a medical person and I have zero medical experience. All I had was Betadine (an antiseptic for first aid), Neosporin and some bandaids. I did my best in cleaning his wound, luckily found some butterfly bandages and again, did my best in bandaging him up. He came frequently for me to check his wound and I would clean it and re-bandage if necessary. To be honest, I imagine he truly needed stitches as it was a pretty deep wound, but it healed. We got to travel back this past December and this same man was sitting on our veranda talking with us. I looked down and noticed his scar. It had been well over five years since that injury occurred. He had a reminder of that day, but it didn’t stop him, cause him pain or handicap him in anyway. It was just there as a reminder.
The story of that man was a physical wound, but how do we react when the cut we receive is emotional? There is no first aid established for emotional wounds, no quick bandaid or Neosporin. Emotional wounds are so much harder to heal. Emotional wounds can last for years without healing, especially if you are proficient at burying the wounds deep. I feel like the road I am on right now is a very bumpy road of emotional healing. It isn’t just me on this road but our entire family. We have been beaten and tore down but remain standing. On the outside we appear fine but every once in a while you will see our scars. I wish so badly we could just show up at someones house and they could bandage us and send us on our way knowing we will be healed quickly. Thankfully, we have Jesus that knows our wounds intimately and is our medical caregiver. At times it is easier to just sit in our wound, but in the long term, it’s not easier. We all have come to the cross begging for healing.
Part of our healing is forgiveness. We must learn how to forgive those who have caused such deep wounds. This morning I was reading in Matthew 18 about the king’s servant who was forgiven his debt, yet couldn’t go and forgive another who owed him. It hit me so hard that how could we not move forward from our hurts when God forgave us of our sins that are so much greater than the hurts we have experienced. We would be no different than that servant if we didn’t forgive those who have hurt us. Today I am choosing to forgive and move forward. I say choosing because forgiveness is not always easy. Forgiveness can be the hardest act to do. I forgive because they are also God’s children whom he loves and so should I. They may never even realize the hurt they have caused me, or my family, but I will still choose to forgive and to love them.
That all sounds so incredibly easy doesn’t it? If only it were as easy as typing these words. I realize the forgiveness road will be bumpy, and probably filled with some potholes that I get stuck in. What moves me forward though is the choice to forgive rather than to sit in my wound letting it turn septic. Septis kills and I choose not to let those who hurt me kill me, but rather I am choosing life and redemption through Jesus. We all are God’s children and we must love one another. I may not ever love them the way I love a friend, but I am choosing to love them the best I know how.
Is there someone you need to forgive? Why wait? Why not choose to forgive and experience the freedom from the chains that unforgiveness binds you with? I am thankful to be friends with the man I helped with his wound. This man loves the Lord with his entire being and is an example to me and an encouragement. Just like him, you may be able to look down and see the scar that remains after healing, but it doesn’t need to be a handicap to your life. We all have scars, but the scars don’t need to stop us, let them be a reminder of the redemption we receive through Jesus.