Neither do all scars carry a good story. There are some stories we don’t want to tell because the memory is too painful. We want them to remain hidden. That is not to say all scars are bad. Some scars tell a story of a lesson well learned, others are the result of life-saving surgery. While scars can be limiting factors in our lives, they can a witness of a life changing incident in our past.
“That is not to say all scars are bad . . .
However, not all scars physical. Some lie beneath the surface residing in our thoughts and emotions. They too are the result of past experiences, and they too are still visible today. They influence the way we view life, the way relate to others, and the way we see God, others and ourselves.
Scars – physical or emotional, mental or spiritual, positive or negative – are unavoidable and we all have them.
Churches carry scars too. Past events, recent and even long forgotten, leave marks that affect the life of any church. On a daily basis they may go unnoticed, yet they impact church life in much the same way scars affect us personally. Sometimes they are behind a church’s inflexibility and its resistance to change. Sometimes, despite a willingness to change, emotional scars render a proposed change almost impossible. Some scars, however, are helpful. They are the results of a crisis successfully overcome in the past that have the potential to bring comfort, strength and resilience for a church facing a new crisis.
Whether helpful or unhelpful, scars are an important part of our lives and life of our churches. Not surprisingly they are also important in the life of the risen Christ. When Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection he showed them his scars (John 20:20). They were the evidence that proved to them who he was, and testified to what he had done on their, and our, behalf.
Every scar tells a story, and Jesus’ scars more than any other. His are the result of great betrayal, deep pain, and bearing overwhelming sin. Yet they also testify to the life that has come because of all that Jesus went through. In fact, the death and resurrection of Jesus demonstrates how the deepest hurt and the biggest scar can be the source of the greatest life and ministry.
Scars are part of our lives, and because of Jesus they take on extra meaning.
May God grant us the grace to understand our scars and the stories behind them. May God teach us of the meaning of the scars of Jesus and how he is always with us. May God enable them to bring hope even in the midst of painful circumstances.
Stephen L Baxter