“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)
I once read a short story where the main female character in the book was in her late 20’s. She’d been in a car accident with her parents when she was young – her parents were killed, and it resulted in her having some bad scarring on her neck and arm. Apparently it was bad enough that she didn’t date when she got older because men were turned off by the scars. Consequently, she had not only the physical scarring, but the emotional scars of rejection. But, she adjusted and lived her life with an acceptance of her situation. She chose a career that allowed her to be a loving, unselfish and nurturing person to people that needed that in their lives. She was kind, considerate and loved deeply by those that she served.
As you would expect, the story developed to the point that she met a man that fell deeply in love with her almost immediately, because she was such a lovely and giving person. At the beginning of their relationship, she was so self-conscious of the scars that if she thought he had even looked at them, and especially when he touched them, she would recoil thinking the worst. But he saw past the physical scars to the person she was and loved her anyway.
This story caused me to think about how we’ve all been through difficulties. It starts when we’re children. We rarely escape childhood without at least some small physical scars from typical accidents. I doubt any of us escape without emotional scars as well. It doesn’t matter how much a parent loves their child, they will say or do things that will have an effect on their psyche. But if we’re fortunate enough that our parents are perfect in that respect, other children or adults will take care of that for us. We all experience pain – both physical and emotional. The wounds are sometimes inflicted by people we don’t even know; but, most times it’s inflicted by people we like and/or love. We even inflict it onto ourselves.
I personally still have a tiny physical scar on my face from childhood. It’s of little significance to me now. But I believe that I’ve likely struggled over the years with some very deep-seated emotional scars from my Dad – scars that made me feel less than worthy or successful in whatever I wanted to do or be. I know he loved me, but he tended to be a person that expected a lot from everyone and was low in the praise department for positive things. This didn’t make him a bad father or person – it made him human. But it’s what we all tend to do to others – some of them we love very much – but we say and do things that leave scars. It doesn’t have to be inflicted intentionally to result in issues for that person.
Regardless of whether the wounds are physical or emotional, sometimes the result is just a little superficial wound that causes pain for a few minutes. Sometimes it’s a deep wound that takes much longer to heal – maybe it never truly heals. But even a little superficial scratch can leave a scar. It would likely be something that we rarely notice, if ever, and it doesn’t really affect our life. The deeper wounds that leave the bigger scars can be more problematic for us, because unless a person is wealthy enough to have that more serious physical scar removed through plastic surgery; or, serious counseling for the emotional scars, it will remain as a reminder of what has happened.
How we handle these inevitable scars can influence our relationships with others. They can distort our perceptions and reactions. They can ruin otherwise good relationships. So, it’s important to deal with them. We can handle them in a couple of ways. They can cripple us, causing us to basically withdraw from living – rather like packing a bag for our trip through life and chaining it to our ankle to be dragged along behind us 24/7. Or, we can accept that it cannot be changed and move on – like leaving that bag on the carousel at the airport and walking away. We need to do whatever it takes to minimize the scarring.
Do we have to be scarred for life? Well, the scar may be there for life. But I don’t believe the results of the scar have to be. It’s a choice. Make your choice a wise one.
Written by Karran Martin