Do you have any scars? There is one on my left knee from a chainsaw, one on my right ear from when my mom tried to save a few bucks on a haircut, another on my left pinky when I stabbed a tree with my new Swiss Army knife that didn't have a locking blade, and another on my left elbow from a bike accident.
Scars abound from my childhood! While those marks on my body don't hurt anymore, they remind me of the hurt and help me not repeat my mistakes. Our world, especially the beauty industry, tries hard to produce products that cover up the scars we may have on our bodies because scars don't equal beauty in their eyes.
Face it. The longer you live and engage the world around you, the more likely you'll be hurt. And hurt produces scars. But did you know that Jesus sees your scars as beautiful? Scars are indicators of hurt but also of healing.
Physical scars are one thing, but emotional scars are sometimes the most difficult to overcome. The pain in your life may have left a seemingly permanent mark on you. Does everything you do revolve around that hurt and avoiding hurt? We learn from our hurts, but they don't have to keep hurting us. Our scars can be visible reminders of permanent healing, not permanent hurting. Here is some healing truth for your hurts – only God can heal your deepest wounds.
Did you know Jesus has scars? After Jesus' Resurrection, He appeared to the disciples and said, "Peace be with you," and showed them the scars on His hands, feet, and side (John 20:19-27). The disciple Thomas was absent for this encounter and said, "Unless I see the scars of His hands, side, and feet, I will not believe." He couldn't believe the testimony of a fully resurrected Jesus, even from His closest companions. Isn't that like us sometimes?
It seems Jesus heals others but not us. It seems God intervenes in other situations but not ours. We, too, can have doubts. Jesus was patient with Thomas' doubt and let him touch and see His scars. Think about this: the resurrected Jesus has scars. Why? He's fully alive – not dead – but carrying His scars – eternally. I think Jesus did this to identify with our deepest wounds and give us an eternal reminder that scars don't always have to hurt you – they can symbolize eternal healing.
There are many sources of our scars – failure, rejection, tragedy, abuse, betrayal, etc. One of my favorite names for God is "God of all Comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3-6). These verses remind me that God is full of mercy and comfort and extends those to us in our hurts. But that healing power isn't just for our benefit.
When we receive healing, comfort, and mercy, we are to extend them to others "who are in any trouble the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ."
God uses our healed hurts and scars to help others. No one can help someone who's lost a child like someone else who's lost a child. Who better to help someone overcome addiction than one who's been there?
How do you overcome pain and stop letting scars continue to bombard you with hurt? First, make Jesus the Lord of your pain. "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). Those verses say He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows (v. 4). He was pierced, crushed, and wounded to bring us peace and healing (v. 5).
Jesus understands and can heal our pains. Secondly, forgive everyone who has hurt or scarred you. Third, find others who are healing from the pain you are experiencing. They are there. Another good step is to surrender the scar in your life to the ministry of the Lord. Let Him use you to help heal others. He gives "beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (Isaiah 61:3).
Stephen Harrison is the former lead pastor of Family Church at White Hall. He is the lead pastor of The Summit Church Saline County.
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