I’m sure someone said it prior to me and better than me, but my version of it is:
“show me someone who does great things, and I will show you someone with great wounds.”
This statement is a reminder of our past, but also a guide for our future. The question is not whether you have wounds, because we all do… and the question is not what caused your wounds, or were your wounds worse than another. We only have the experience of our own hurts, and so there is no person who can carry the pains of another. (I had to learn this in a counseling setting, where I found myself rating peoples woundedness based on what I thought it should be – but I came to a realization that it is not my place to decide how deep their hurts are, but simply to listen and work through it with them). The big question is simple: “How much do you allow your past wounds to shape your identity in the here and now?” That’s really it.
There is another saying, which I have heard many times and it is the straightforward repetition of 2 words, with profound meaning. Hurt People, hurt people. Think about that for a second… What that is really saying is that when we are people who are overwhelmed by pain, our instinct is to hurt another. Wow…that’s scary. But it is true. When someone at school would punch me, my initial instinct was to punch them back. When someone yells at you, rarely do people calmly respond. It is in our nature to act out of the hurt we feel and the pain we bear.
However, while hurt, pain, wound…and eventually scars are a part of our lives – we must decide how much power we give them in our today. Some people never leave the past behind and that is why it feels ever-present to them, because they have not drawn a line to say “this ends here.”
Scars are awesome – let’s face it…what man do you know who doesn’t have a ‘scar story?’ They remind us of an incident or an accident or a stupid decision. They are meant to remind us of a “healed past.” When you read the story of Jesus and the crucifixion, we see a horribly unfair treatment of the one we love. We can hear the whip lashing his back, the nails driven into his hand, the laughing, the spitting. We have to look away and squint our eyes, to make it more bearable. And after he dies, we breath a relief that the torture is over, and that God’s plan and price is paid. And then after 3 days of darkness, after 3 days of rest, he is raised. While his life is breathed back into him, like in the story of Adam in Genesis…Jesus is alive once more. BUT… His scars remain. He is brought back from the dead, in fullness, but the signs of his wounds are still there. Healed, I would assume – but tangible. The disciples get to see them, Thomas gets to put his hand in Jesus hands, feet and side… they look at his back – they see the price of their sin… the price of mine. The scars are the healed reminders that God loves us, endures for us… that “by his wounds we are healed.”
So I guess we all have a choice. Our wounds can define our present, or they can be a reminder of a redeemed past. How much will we allow them to control us, have power over us and torment us. When we lay them down…bury them in the tomb, we will still carry them – these little reminders – but they will become our testimony of what God is able to do. God often likes to use our weaknesses, failures and hurts, rather than our achievements, successes and strengths. He can use your worst moments for his glory… I mean He did with Jesus.