Scars are a reminder of something, and most of the time a scar reminds of something unpleasant. Scars are not unusual because there are many people who have scars all over their body. And for every scar they have it indicates that something bad happened. Most of the scars we receive are from something bad. When you receive a particular scar or mark on your body it is there for a reason. I often thought God could have made the flesh so that it would not scar when it is torn. For example the tongue has a certain type of tissue that does not scar when it is torn. In fact, the tongue does not have scar tissue.
I don’t care how many times you may bite your tongue and hurt yourself, God has fixed it so that the tongue can virtually repair itself, and when it does—it leaves no scar. However, the only scar that the tongue could possibly leave is when you use tongue to speak against your brother or your sister—it doesn’t leave a physical scar, but it still leaves a scar. Almost every one of us have some sort of physical scar on our bodies from sports wounds, surgical cuts, war wounds, or accidents, but what about the emotional scars?
All scars are not physical; it’s easy to see physical scars and wounds. You can see if they are old or new, or whether the wounds need to be stitched by a doctor or whether the use of a Band-Aid would be enough. But emotional wounds and scars are not as easy to detect. Some emotional scars and wounds are in desperate need of treatment but have been ignored for years. Ignoring these types of scars and wounds may result in serious psychological damage. It is important to not only recognize when you have emotional wounds but also know what is needed to heal the hurt. Many of us hold on to situations, circumstances, thoughts, mindsets, and trauma long after it has become obvious we are being still being damaged long after the event has occurred. All because scars are like that, they are reminders of something unpleasant, they are reminders of hurt and pain, and they are reminders of our trials and tribulations. And sometimes they are even reminders of some sin in our lives.
1. SCARS REMIND US THAT SIN IS PAINFUL
Ask any doctor, and he or she will tell you that a scar does not always appear at the very moment of the event that caused the scar. Sometimes it takes a while for the scar to make its appearance. When it comes to sin, it does not always scar at the time of the sin, sometimes it does but not always. In fact, some people bear physical scars—scars that you can see that were a direct result of a sin. Like the gang member who loved to show off his bullet wounds and the cuts from a knife fight, because to his way of thinking, it was documented proof that he is sure enough a gangster worthy of membership in somebody’s gang.
Physically there are ways to cover up or hide our scars, you can apply concealing make-up for example, and there are various makeups available on the market that can temporarily hide a scar. There is even a product on the market that promises to rid you of both old and new scars. If you’re really serious, there is cosmetic surgery that offers a more permanent solution. However, sin always leaves a scar in our lives – and all our sins are known unto God - and sometimes may become known to many others. The scars of sin remain for life and the only way to prevent the scars is to prevent the sin. There is no makeup available nor is there any cosmetic surgery—when it comes to scars of sin, Jesus Christ is your only answer, “He that covereth his sin shall not prosper, but whoso confesses and forsakes it shall have mercy - but consequences remain.” In other words, He is merciful but He will also leave you a reminder of your sin.
Scars, physical scars on the outside are one thing, but the scars—both emotional and spiritual on the inside are something else. In fact, the inward scars are much more serious. These inward scars usually do not come until much later in life, the inward scars may not affect us but can affect those we love and gives us more reason to seek God’s help. There are some things we would love to forget but scars will be there forever, serving as a constant reminder. As painful as they may these inwardly and outwardly actually do serve a very important purpose.
2. SCARS REMIND US NOT TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE AGAIN
Scars remind us not to make the same mistake again; you’ve heard it said that we learn by our mistakes. In other words, it’s so bad to make a mistake as long as we don’t them over and over again. And God use our failures to make us stronger, Theodore Roosevelt said, "The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything." Edison spent more than $100,000 to obtain 6000 different fiber specimens, and only three of them proved satisfactory. Each failure brought him that much closer to the solution to his problem. His friend Henry Ford was right when he said that failure was the "opportunity to begin again, more intelligently."
For sure, the mistakes that we make in life are like scars—they are reminders to not tread down that particular road again. We should never keep looking our scars, physically, emotionally, or spiritually as something ugly and unsightly and decide that it is too late, because the Psalmist said in Psalm 37: 24, “Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” We need to let our scars remind us that the mistakes we make are worth learning from. Yes, the Lord will leave us reminders of the way and manner we received our scars. And yes, at times these are physical, actual places where the skin was torn. He even allows us to observe the healing process by letting the scar tissue to form.
Think about it, He didn’t have to it this way, He could have made it such that once the skin is torn it never heals and automatically become infected. Any good medical doctor will tell you that infected wound is serious, any break in the skin let’s in dangerous bacteria and infectious organisms set in. But God gives us a physical healing process that we can even see for ourselves. And He also gives us an emotional and spiritual healing process, to assist us with the scars of life. I know that the scars of life are difficult to deal with, though we try to move on, sometimes those same scars seem hinder us in trusting and loving ourselves and even worst, trusting in God. We tense up and become fearful of allowing ourselves to love and to be loved again. But, sometimes those scars help us for they remind us to stop and think about what we are doing, to not make the same mistake again. But if view it in the way Paul here in the text viewed it we will come to the conclusion that God will not ask to look over your resume, He will not ask you what kind of experience do you have? He will not ask you about the church attend and who is the pastor or how popular he is? He will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas, but He will look for your scars.
3. SCARS REMIND US OF OUR PURPOSE
Here is how I believe Paul viewed his scars, he knew that Christ suffered for him; therefore, Paul was willing to suffer for Christ. And suffer he did! He bore as much as any man or woman had to bear for Christ. In 2 Corinthians 11: 24 – 25, we read, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;” can you even imagine how ugly the scars on Paul’s must have looked after all this?
However, despite the physical appearance these scars served a purpose. His scars preached a power sermon, his scars told a story that no one could deny. His scars represented the fact that all things work for the good to those who love the Lord, isn’t it amazing that only God would choose to turn the ugly marks of our trials and tribulations into a badge of honor? There may be a trial in your life today, and you just don’t understand why the fire and the flame? Remember Job? He didn’t understand either, and he lost more than any man or woman will ever lose—but his endurance despite the wrong counsel of Sister Job, and despite the ill advise passed out by his so-called friends.
Despite of the devil releasing his hounds to buffet and batter Job at every turn—Job endured. The scars on Paul’s body were branding marks of Christ. Just like cattle, there was a time that slaves were branded on their flesh in order to show ownership. Their bodies bore scars to identify just who their master was, and so here is the point: Paul had subjected his body so much and suffered so much persecution in the name of Jesus Christ until his body was scarred up by the opposition and yet he still stood and proclaimed to the grace and mercy of the Lord. Along the way, there were people who challenged Paul’s credentials. Mind you, there are people today who will try and do the very same thing you. I ran into a sister one day who I had not seen for a couple of years, and instead of saying hello, her first question to me was, “Are you still preaching?” And my response to her was, “Are people still sinning?” She didn’t answer; she just looked at me for moment and went on her way. However, although I am not sensitive, I believe she was trying to say that after receiving my scars I should have given up by now.
But since God has never given up on me, I will sure enough not give up on Him. The sister kind of reminded me of Job’s wife, who suggested that Job should simply “curse God and die”—and my response is the very same to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” The minute I received my very first scar should I have taken my ball and just go home? No! I know there are people out there who want you to just shut up. They wanted Jeremiah to shut up and be still, but Jeremiah said that he did place the thought into consideration but concluded that he couldn’t do that because the Word of God was like fire all shut up in his bones! He couldn’t help but speak for God.
This is symbolic of those who bear the scars of Jesus Christ, we have the “can’t help its”—no matter what Satan tries to throw our way, God has been so good we just can’t help it and we are willing to bear the scars. Just like the gang member I told you about earlier, we don’t mind displaying our scars like a badge of honor. Why? Because they are a badge of honor! Our scars are documented proof that we are indeed worthy of being called a child of God.
Go ahead, just look at the lines and marks of your journey. The common wisdom calls them ugly reminders. In the light of God’s purpose they are beautiful trophies. God has a purpose and plan for your scars, and you. The Bible says that God knits us together in our mother’s wombs. That means that God made my heart with holes in it. It also means that God chose for me to be born in a time when medical technology had developed and in a place where it was available to fix my heart. He decided I would be born to parents who would fix me, not abandon me to die from my condition. You see I have scars to remind me everyday of just how much God loves me. Do you have scars? Do you have emotional or psychological scars because of a circumstance or situation? Jesus had some scars, when Jesus rose from the grave Thomas needed proof. He needed to see the scars in Jesus hands and side. These scars became part of the fabric of evidence to prove that the Resurrection was not a rumor or a figment of his imagination brought about by grief and denial. The Resurrection was real. To Thomas, that is what the scars of Jesus meant -- the Resurrection is real, and because the Resurrection was real it was documented proof that when we suffer with Him we have victory through Him. If you have any scars, Praise God! Because He’s given you a means to show the world how He takes care of us and heals us through any means He chooses. Yes, we may have been hurt at one time; people may have criticized us and spoken evil about us—even people who belong to our church family. Through the years we have developed scars because of it, and yes, some scars are the result of sinful choices we’ve made. But remember, when God forgives sin, he forgives it all. And the scars that remain are not to remind us of our failures, but of God’s victory over sin, of His grace and mercy toward us, and of His provision in our lives.
And remember this too; God doesn’t give us scars to remind us that we have been hurt. God gives us scars to remind us that we have been healed, we’ve been delivered; and we’ve been set free! Although Paul endured attacks upon his ministry, he reminded those involved (the Galatians church) his scars showed that belonged to Jesus. Thank God for scars! They may look ugly to some, but to me they are so, so, beautiful. Amen.