What comes to mind when you hear the words wounds and scars? A scratch or a scrape from that one time on the playground or perhaps something deeper? A wound is an injury to living tissue, a cut, tear or lesion. A wound is an active aliment. Emphasis on active. A scar is a mark left on or within the skin where a wound, burn, or sore was healed. In other words, a scar is a mark that signifies a healed wound. In order for a wound to heal we need to take some practical steps. We must clean it, apply necessary ointments, cover with a bandage and give it time. Each step is an important part of healing. A wounded heart needs the same treatment.
Just as you would not leave a deep cut or burn unattended, cared for or mended, a wounded heart requires attention. The first step is to face it. Acknowledge the hurt. Don't pretend it didn't hurt or deny its existence. Then make the decision help it heal. This may include temporarily removing yourself from the situation that caused the pain. Examine the circumstances and learn from them. If the pain is still present, we should remember how we got injured in the first place. Sometimes however, the pain blurs our memory and we feel the need to revisit the how's and why's of wounds. We churn it over and over in our minds. Beating ourselves up. We try to muscle through it mentally and figure out to how to do it differently. In all this "toiling and self-effort" we tend to miss the opportunity to learn from injury. Hit the pause button. Pray and ask God "what do you want me to learn from this?" What part did I play in this scene? Not the easiest of questions but a super important step to prevent revisiting the same hurt. We know that doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome just doesn't work.
The next step is often the hardest. Forgive the offense and the offender....even if it was you. Forgiveness frees you of carrying the anger, resentment and burden of your bruises. Unforgiveness causes bitterness, anxiety, stress, sickness and hinders your prayers. Forgiveness is the balm or ointment needed for healing. Then you cover it with time and prayer. Allow it to heal. We would think it ridiculous to look at a cut and tell it "you are not a cut, you don't hurt and you go away immediately." That will not make a cut cease being a cut. It needs time to heal.
You do not always need to see the process to receive the healing. You have to clean it, dress it, protect it and be patient. Allow yourself time. Resist the urge to pull back the bandage to take a look. Trust the process and be encouraged. Your wounds are healing. Proceed with caution but not with fear. Don't be afraid to try again and do not despise your scars. They are legacies of your healing and part of your personal story.