When I was a kid I was a horrible scab picker. I know that sounds kind of gross but it is the truth…and I know I’m not the only one out there…you know who you are. I’ve got scars all over my body to prove how many cuts and scrapes never healed the way they were supposed to. I just couldn’t help myself. Even to this day if I get a nick or scratch I have to fight the urge to just see what’s underneath the scab. It’s a habit I’m trying to break. I’ve been known to pick at heart-hurts as well – all those things that people do or say that injure our spirit and wound our soul. Those snide remarks and put-downs that cause us to question who we are or if we’re important…or if we’re loved. Yes, we pick at those too by rehearsing in our thoughts over and over the wrong that was done and questioning why. Some wounds take a very long time to heal.
Healing doesn’t mean forgetting. Often there is a scar left, especially with deep wounds, that provides a constant reminder of the hurt. Healing doesn’t mean pain free. Often when we are hurt and the wound has ‘healed’, the place where we were hurt is tender to the touch and can remain so for some time. Healing doesn’t happen overnight. It can take days, weeks, months, or even years depending on the severity of the wound – or how much we interfere (pick at it). In fact the one best thing we can do to reduce the amount of time a hurt takes to heal is to leave it alone. This is also the most difficult thing for many of us to do.
No matter the hurt, we must learn to let forgiveness do its work. Yup, there it is – Forgiveness. The word that many use but few ever master…myself included. Is it an action? Is it a feeling? Is it just something you believe? Does saying the words, “I forgive you” mean they’re forgiven? Why does it still hurt? Why should I let them off the hook? I’m not going to claim here that I know definitively the answer to any of those questions…I’m not sure if any of us really can this side of Heaven. There is an intangible quality to the process of forgiveness. Something in the idea that says, ‘don’t touch’ or ‘leave it alone now’…but we always want to take it back, pry it open, just to see…
When we get a cut or scrape, the first thing we often do is wash it off and put a bandage on it. The bandage is only a temporary covering to keep any dirt or germs out of the open wound until the body is able to create its own covering, a scab. It is much the same with hurts of the heart. We make the choice to place a bandage on by saying, “I forgive”. Eventually, as the Good Lord begins to work, we will be able to remove the bandage revealing a more permanent covering with the hurt now in the hands of the Healer. Now comes the tricky part…not picking at the wound. Not going over and over in our minds the events. Not constantly trying to figure out why. Not talking to everyone we know to get their thoughts. Not trying so hard to ‘make things right’ when we do not have the power to change someone’s heart, or even our own. There is only one who has that power and this, I believe, is the purpose of forgiveness. To provide a covering for the Lord to change hearts and minds.
If we allow the process to happen, eventually the scab of forgiveness will fall off by itself and reveal not an ugly scar but a testimony of what hurts in the hands of a loving Lord become…healed.