Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Only becoming-one with God can be the true process of man's healing." Pope Benedict XVI

I scar easily.

I have a scar on my right hand from working at a VET clinic (fun story). I have a scar on my left arm from running into a nail at a retreat center (ouch.) I have a scar on my shin from falling off the wing-wall at my old house (yeah, we called them wing-walls.)

I have noticed in recent years that I can actually prevent scarring. If I clean the wound, keep it clean, use ointment and a bandaid . . . the scar is less visible and less likely. (No, this post is not an advertisement for some new medicinal product.)

Recently I picked a scab (yes, gross, I know.) The second I did it I thought, “Why did I do that?! Now, it will scar even more.” (Keep in mind, boys think scars are cool, girls not-so-much.)

Why so much talk about my first aid practices? I scar easily (emotionally too) and I had a couple realizations about wounds of all kinds and genuine healing:

1) So often, we know how to heal a wound, but we don’t. We do not take the time to “clean it out”. Then later we are surprised it is infected. Somehow dumbfounded that there is a scar.

2) Often we let hurts fester. It is like we stand there and stare at a bleeding wound saying “Why did this happen to me?!” without making the logical move to get treatment.

3) We also walk around pointing at the wound saying, “This hurts! You have no idea how much this hurts!” but don’t accept offers from others to help us mend.

4) When we recant an old hurt to a new friend, when we assume the worst of a “forgiven” friend, when we stew and steam and get all riled up again over a past hurt . . . it is like ripping off the scab too soon. The healing takes longer.

What, then, should we do? How do we “clean” an emotional or relational wound? We “get it out” – whether that be writing it out, talking it out, praying it out or a combination thereof. We must get the “dirt” out and not let it fester. We must let it go. Give it to God. Not easy, but necessary.

What is the “ointment” to heal these wounds? Grace. We need to take our wounds to Jesus and let Him heal them with His grace. There is no other way. He brings the new life, the true healing, about. By his wounds we are healed.

Today I find myself a bit grateful I cut my hand recently (on the refrigerator shelf, no less). It has reminded me how real healing happens. I think I’ll go break out the first aid kit and do some mending.

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