On a recent post from Spirit Science on their Facebook page, I saw this little quote which made me grateful for all three: "Wrinkles mean you laughed, gray hair means you cared, and scars mean you lived!" I am seeing more wrinkles, so I must be laughing a lot. I have developed quite a few more gray hairs over the past two years, so I must be doing my share of caring. I have also developed a plethora of scars (both seen and unseen) - so I think I have done a lot of living, as well! There is a way of living which helps me move beyond those scars, though. It is life in the presence of God himself. The internal and external scars of life can only be mended by his hand - no other "fix" remains fixed. I know this because I have tried to "heal" broken places of my life by my own doing and let me just assure you, the mess I make of it produces nothing more than a Keloid Scar. In a technical sense, a Keloid Scar is one that doesn't know when to quit! Keloid Scars just keep getting bigger, rising above the smooth surface of the skin, getting all purple or dark pink in color, and presenting quite an ugly appearance. My own "fixes" in life are kind of like that - not easily stopped once the course of the "fix" is set in motion; often rising to heights I didn't plan on, and presenting just another thing I want to cover up!
Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15 VOICE)
God gives us some pretty specific instructions about "life", which when embraced, help us to actually avoid the development of scars, and in fact, may even bring a little healing to the older scars in our lives. Hypertrophic scars are big scars, but they remain confined to the original outline of the wound. I have two of these on my right knee from the various knee surgeries I have had. Although they healed, they were kind of wide and a little more noticeable than some other scars on my body. I have a scar from a surgery I had when I was six weeks old - not even noticeable at all anymore. The difference is probably a couple of factors such as the age at which I underwent the surgeries and the ability of the body to "regrow" or "heal" from the insults to the skin tissue which the scalpel did. On the other hand, I have a great deal many internal scars caused by not so wisely chosen relationships, pretty bad choices to do things clearly outside of my "safety zone", and just plain foolish decisions. You are probably not far from this state of affairs, as well. Those scars aren't visible to the naked eye like the ones on my knee, but they are there, nonetheless.
The hypertrophic scars on my knee are well healed wounds. They just expanded a little and will eventually shrink in size just through the natural process of healing. The scars "break down" over time as the body does its work to "restructure" the area where the insult occurred. How is it we begin to "break down" those internal scars in those areas where either an insult of our own choice / action, or the damage of another's influence in our lives created? I think the key to this lies in our passage above. It is by putting on love. Letting our hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed's peace - now that is a word picture which really helps us understand "where" it is healing starts and by whose hand healing is produced. I didn't heal from my arthritic knee - the skilled hand of an orthopedic surgeon "restructured" my knee, complete with metal components, into a very workable knee. It isn't "perfect" as some view perfection, but I get around pretty well now and have a whole lot pain than I did before. Am I pain free - no. Do I move and enjoy life more now - you bet ya!
The difference comes in who it is that does the work of "restructuring" the damaged areas of our lives. It isn't going to turn out too well if it is always us! We just don't have the means by which to "heal ourselves". The sooner we recognize this, the better. The same thing holds true of our damaged relationships - we don't hold the power by which to totally restore them, either. We might have some of the pieces - such as forgiving one another and letting go of those offenses - but we don't possess all we need. As our passage points out, it is as we come under his authority and we begin to embrace a lifestyle of love that we begin to see "restructuring" or "remodeling" of relationships. Our emotions (the heart) have a way of keeping us attached to the past actions of another which we somehow associate with the break in relationship. It is when we submit those emotions, and all the "rights" associated with them, that we begin to find the remodeling occur. Remember this - just as with our bodies, when our emotions have been assaulted, regardless of by our own doing or that of another, it takes a while for the remodeling to occur.
Healing is a process - letting go is a one time thing - but healing from the wounds created by either our misdeeds or those of another takes a little time. If we rush the process, we can sometimes make the scars a little "keloid" in appearance. Why? The wounded emotions don't have a chance to heal from the inside out. God goes to the heart when he begins healing because he knows for healing to be "done well" it begins on the inside and then finishes in what we can see. Regardless of the type of wound we have experienced - the healing all begins the same way. As we submit to the hand of the one skilled in producing only the best outcomes for our lives, his peace will begin to settle in. As that peace settles in, our hearts become ignited with the passion of his love. As that love begins to burn hot within our lives, the remodeling of our lives reaches "near perfect" measures. Yes, there will be evidence of old wounds. I think they may be there to remind us not to do some of those things again which produced the wounds in the first place! But...sometimes they are there to remind us of how much that other person really matters to us and how deeply we have loved. Just sayin!