I have a lot of scars on my body – at my age, that is nothing unusual. Everybody has scars and the stories behind them. This is from when I was doing dishes and the glass I was washing broke.
It isn’t the most awesome story, but I cannot find the one that I wanted to photo. I was fourteen, and my two little brothers locked me out of the house. I was angrily pounding on the back door window, cursing at them to let me in, when my hand went thru the window and left me a lovely scar. They claim the door was never locked – perhaps it wasn’t. But I thought it was at the time.
We all have scars. Physically or emotionally – they are there. When I look back at the stories of my skin scars, the emotions and the trauma at the time is strangely muffled – almost like it happened to someone else. But the heart scars? No, those are different.
Sometimes it seems as if there are no band aids or sutures for these hurts; no kisses to make them go away. But that’s not true. For heart scars it takes a liberal dose of forgiveness for them to scab up and then become a faded scar. Forgiveness. Not the “I forgive you,” but I am secretly keeping score of how many times you’ve hurt me kind of forgiveness. I’m talking the turn the other cheek, offer them your cloak kind of forgiveness. Jesus Forgiveness.
In my own life, I’ve had open wounds that I let hemorrhage for years, decades even. Never finding relief or peace. Always angry when I thought of the one that hurt me. I would not allow the scars to form. I’d pick away at the scab, digging deep until it bled again. I was miserable. And I was making those around me miserable too.
The good news is, God helped me see what I was doing to myself and my innocent family members who had never known my traumatic hurt as a child. They only saw my anger- my self loathing -my hurt. It took a while, as I am a stubborn child, but my Father opened my eyes and took my breath away with the wonder of forgiveness. If I had only known years ago, the power of forgiveness and the freedom and peace it brings – perhaps a lot of my time would not have been wasted.
But then, perhaps I was not ready either. The kind of forgiveness that goes beyond the deed that was done, to loving and forgiving the person and no longer keeping a record of wrong -has to be learned I think. At least that’s what I believe is true for me.
When I began to understand more the love of God and His unfailing, unchanging, keeping no record of wrong forgiveness He lavishes on me every day – How could I not forgive! I have done my own dirty deeds – how can I not forgive another?
So I stopped “picking at the scab” and forgave the person who had hurt me. I didn’t have the opportunity to do this face to face for that person was long dead, but the result was the same. AND like a scar, it took time to form over that breach in my heart. Whenever the person came to mind, and I would start to open the wound, I’d stop myself. I’d tell them I forgive them and then let it go. It took awhile, but now like my hand, there is a scar there. And I can look at it now without anger or self loathing or misery. I am free.
Do you struggle with someone that is “unforgivable”? Are you still picking at the scabs of old wounds? I invite you to truly learn forgiveness – Jesus type of Forgiveness – and be free.
Funny thing is, the hardest person I find to forgive is myself. But, I’m working on that one too – every day. Jesus is good about helping me when I start to tear into myself. He shows me his scars and smiles at me.