I once stood on a toilet so I could spy on my friend in the other stall (don’t ask me why.) I fell, bringing the toilet lid down upon my little toe, which resulted in a scar shaped like the Verizon logo! I’ve also been sliced and diced three times giving birth to three of my children. But these scars, the ones that are visible to the eye, are not the scars I am speaking of today. I have other scars etched upon my memory and heart that tell stories of betrayal, violations, and disappointments.
Some of my scars are decades old, and some are fresh. Like you, I have been slammed up against the wall of betrayal, not prepared or ready for the impact of pain and grief I would experience from someone else’s decisions. I have felt the residual pain of that whiplash.
When we experience the death of a friendship, a dream, a marriage, or a ministry, it has potential to cripple us from moving forward. As I reflect on this last year, I am evaluating my scars and want to share three ways we can minimize the scar tissue of our heart.
1. FORGIVE, FORGIVE, FORGIVE
When betrayal found me (FYI, this wasn’t by my husband), I knew the most important posture I could have was
forgiveness. And when the next day came, and more lies were discovered, I had to choose to forgive again. And in continuous days to follow, and even more was brought to light, I found myself angry, but still choosing, with white knuckles and gritted teeth, to release forgiveness to my offender. And still there are times when something triggers a painful memory, and I am reminded each time - I MUST keep forgiving.
Forgiveness is often so misunderstood, and because of that, too many people are locked in a prison cell with no hope of escape. I think for us to be set free, it is important to know what forgiveness IS and what it IS NOT.
Forgiveness IS NOT approving of their sin or forgetting what they’ve done. It isn’t a feeling, trust, or reconciliation (although this may be a part of it.) Forgiveness isn’t contingent upon an apology, and it isn’t neglecting justice.
Forgiveness IS forsaking revenge and allowing God to be our defense and justice. It is setting the prisoner free and realizing that prisoner was us. Forgiveness is cancelling a person’s debt and releasing them from our judgment. And forgiveness is an ongoing process.
Forgiveness is releasing the pain and person to God, taking judgment out of our hands and placing it in His. It is ultimately saying, “I trust God to handle this.” (Colossians 2:13-14, Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:30-32)
2. EXPOSE THE SCAR
I know this sounds weird, but stay with me.
In Mark 3, Jesus is at church with a man who has a withered hand. And here comes Jesus with the audacity to ask that man to expose it. He called him forward and said, “Stretch out your hand.” And when the man exposed the struggle he had smuggled in time after time, he was healed! The Word says his hand was restored as WHOLE AS THE OTHER!!!
Sisters, I am not saying you need to put the scars and wounds of your heart on display for everyone, but there are SOME that need to see the ugly, especially Jesus. It is only when we expose our struggle that Jesus can make us whole again.
3. REMAIN OPEN
Scar tissue is fibrous tissue that replaces your natural skin after a trauma to your body to help the healing process. It is necessary! But did you know that after the wound has healed, the scar tissue has nowhere to go and can cause problems? Medical professionals say you can prevent or minimize scar tissue by doing the following:
• Having a medical professional treat the wound properly
• Massage the wound
• And give it time to heal naturally
Catch the parallels? We may not eliminate the scar entirely, and that is ok, because it becomes part of our testimony, but we can certainly minimize the long-term effects of that trauma to our heart.
So cry, pray, grieve, yell, write, get therapy… do what you must to process the pain in a healthy way so that it moves through you and doesn’t remain in you! Because when pain remains in us, it becomes cement in our heart that produces bitterness, makes us a skeptic, and moves us to a place of isolation. And when we become these things, the enemy has won and accomplished his goal of derailing us from the purposes and plans of God and crippling us from running this race.
Refuse to let offense settle in. Embrace the pain, experience it, but get the help you need through God’s Word and godly counsel to get that pain through you. Your life, your future, and your health depend on it.
Let’s decide today that the scars of our heart will be a testimony of God’s grace and healing rather than the reason we are no longer useful for the Master’s work. Forgive, expose, and get the pain through you.
Sabrina is a mother to three biological girls and one adopted boy. She is a pastor’s wife, graphic designer, and founder of Mom Mentor. Along with her husband, Matthew, they pastor Grace Church in Oceanside, CA and host Parenting on the Go and Marriage on the Go Podcasts! She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines every day. She prefers chai lattes over coffee, mac-n-cheese over vegetables, and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!