Often, we have scars that are unacceptable to others around us. We don’t want to discuss them. It is too embarrassing. But before I get too deep into this discussion of unacceptable scars, I want to make a distinction.
At least two types of unacceptable scars. One type includes scars from wounds done to you when you were too young or vulnerable to be able to fight back or even defend yourself.
There are two kinds of unacceptable scars. One has to do with a difficult history of sin and woundedness. Often it has to do with things that have been done to us and caused deep wounds and left horrible scars. They are not the kinds of things we will want to discuss with everyone we meet, but only a few close, trusted friends. We will often need to spend years in recovery from those wounds. The time we spend in recovery will take awhile. Often forgiveness will come in stages. This would include things like sexual abuse, abuse during childhood of various types, rape and a variety of other sins that have been done against you but that weren’t your fault.
Another scar is the kind you did where you were aware of what you did and you sinned against someone or a group of people willingly and on purpose.
There are other kinds of unacceptable scars that involve sin and woundedness that we have done to others. It is often difficult for us to even look honestly at what we have done. Sometimes these things were illegal and we had to pay a price for the things we did. In the process, it is likely we were wounded more and were scarred more! These scars are difficult to deal with as well. They often happened before we knew Christ and He made us into new people…but not always! Sometimes, we were Christians and rebelled against what we knew to be right. In this case, our repentance and healing will also take time and close relationships with other believers in the context of a vital church.
When you have been affected in extreme ways by sin and brokenness, you need to be involved in a local church that lives out the gospel as taught in the Bible.
In either situation, we need involvement within a local Body of Believers who will show us healthy grace, love us honestly, and speak the truth in love. We cannot simply sit on the back row and stay uninvolved with people in the Church. We must worship regularly. We need GOD’s Word speaking to us as well as regular involvement with GOD’s Word, prayer, and His people as we live in community and worship together. We also need to participate in the sacraments…the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. They are concrete examples of the truth of the Gospel that remind us regularly of what Jesus did for us…and how much we all need the gospel everyday.
We also need close relationships within the Church as well as outside of it. Inside the Church, our friendships build us up…mutually. Well, that is the kind of friendships we need to have. We share life together. In the process, we grow in our faith too.
We also have friendships outside the church for outreach…often they intersect.
In addition, you may need counseling to help as you untangle the pieces of your life.
If you have extreme areas of brokenness, you may need extra help with counseling. It is not unusual to need that kind of help. No one is above needing help. Recognizing our need of getting extra help to deal with devastating areas of brokenness is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of wisdom. We need help to understand how the Gospel applies to our situation. It isn’t always obvious. So take advantage of the provisions GOD provides for you: counseling, mentoring, opportunities to worship, small groups and whatever He provides for you to grow and mature in your relationship with both GOD and other people around you.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,
not counting their trespasses against them,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
II Corinthians 5:17-19 ESV
Call to Action: What areas of brokenness do you recognize in your life? It’s true that all of us have been affected by sin. But some of us have been strongly affected to the extreme. Are you one of these? Were you affected as an innocent who was offended? Did you offend? Have you repented if you were the offender? What protections do you have in place for others so you won’t harm anyone else (if that is an issue)? If you were offended, do you struggle with issues such as holding onto bitterness and resentment? These are areas you need to deal with in terms of repentance. Talk to GOD about the area you are dealing with. I know, we’re just getting started.