I'm very thankful to not lose an eye or have traumatic brain injury! However, the 20 stitches I needed in my forehead resulted in a visible scar. Although it's only skin deep, I'm not a fan. I don't really like the scar or the memory.
No one likes to be scarred. What is it we don't like?
Scars come in various forms. Physical scars like mine can make us feel blemished, different than others. We may fear rejection simply because of our physical appearance: too fat, too short, not as pretty...leaving us to feel unwanted and inferior.
Emotional or psychological scars are often even more devastating. Many of us have been abused, rejected or ridiculed. These wounds are often inflicted on us by people we trust: family members or supposed friends.
Scars are symbols, reminding us again and again of the wounds and trauma we incurred. The pain from these traumatic events can linger, dominating our lives years later.
Someone recently posted a glib statement on Facebook about scars, stating we should be proud of our scars, that they are signs of toughness. Although well intended, the post did little for me, except to stimulate my thinking: what should I learn about scars?
1. Appearances are deceptive.
Whether we carry visible scars or other physical attributes that vary from society's norms, we are beautiful and valuable. Psalm 139 reminds us "we are beautifully and wonderfully made." God didn't make a mistake with you. You are precious and loved. Don't listen to those who would judge or reject you because of how you look.
2. Wounds can heal.
While everyone will be wounded in life, some experience devastating events more than others. Regardless of what you have experienced, Jesus calls out to the wounded: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Your traumatic past doesn't need to dominate your future. If you struggle with past or current wounds, seek out a counselor, someone to guide you through the healing process.
3. There is real hope.
Years ago, I conducted a door-to-door survey, asking thousands of secularized Europeans if they would go to heaven. The most frequent answer was "I hope so." Most admitted their hopes were empty wishes rather than having confidence in God's mercies.
In John 10:10, Jesus promises: "I came that you may have life in abundance." God's promise to you and me, as believers in Christ, is hope and joy in life, now and for all eternity. Regardless of your pain, your wounds or your scars, God will help you and walk beside you.
4. Others need you.
After we went through the tragedy of losing our third child, we met many other couples who faced the same heartbreak. As we comforted them, we ourselves were also blessed and continued to heal.
Whatever you have been through, I guarantee there is someone you know who could benefit from your help and encouragement. Your healing and growth will continue as you give yourself to others (Luke 6:38).
I hope you join me in God's work of healing up wounds, overcoming scars and living a blessed, abundant life. Drop me a note if this resonates with you.