Soul Scars

monument-412941_640Image by Nini. Courtesy of Pixabay.

A week ago, I was changing a bandage on a wound. It was about three weeks old and the scar tissue had begun to form. I thought, “Well, I need to put some alcohol on this to make sure there are no germs there.” I got my bottle of alcohol out of the cupboard, put it on a cotton ball and got ready to feel some real pain as I knew the alcohol would sting. To my surprise, there was no pain. You see, scar tissue does not have any nerve endings when it begins to form. The nerve endings have been cut in the surrounding tissue, and initially, a person feels nothing.

I began to wonder about our soul scars. If someone could see our souls, what would they look like? Would there be wounds that had healed completely and others that were in the process of healing? Would there be wounds that were festering and causing us pain? I think if people could see our souls, they would see all three kinds of wounds.

The most obvious would be the wounds that were still open, still in the healing process. Sometimes life wounds us deeply with the loss of a loved one or some other deeply personal loss. These wounds may take years to heal, and only as our grief is felt or expressed can we truly heal. Tears are a valuable form of therapy with these kinds of wounds as they wash them and keep them clean while they are healing.

The least obvious would be the wounds that have healed and the scars have become part of our soul’s makeup. If you look closely at them, you will see that the area around them is healthy and whole and sometimes the scars have healed so well they are difficult to discern. 

A Soul Physician would be very concerned about the wounds that are still festering, where there is infection. We all have those kinds of wounds whether we realize it or not. They are the wounds that have not been taken care of and no healing balm has been applied to them. Usually the infection has been caused by unforgiveness and a person must purposely set out to do their part in the healing process. 

 Festering wounds must be acknowledged and we must be ready to be healed from them. We must be willing to apply the disinfectant of forgiveness to them and let go of all of our unforgiveness and bitterness. Will there be pain when we lance these kinds of wounds? Yes, they may have been festering for years, but as their purulence is released there will be a peace that takes its place.

Oh, the sweet peace of forgiveness, may it blanket our souls and make us healthy and whole!

“Forgive us our sins, for we forgive everyone who sins against us.” Luke 11:4

Polluted Wells

fence-20869_640Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Have you ever been out hiking around in the country and come across an abandoned home? Many times there is a well beside it that hasn’t been used for decades. Would we drink out of that well? Of course, not. The well could be polluted. We don’t know what the water is like and we certainly don’t know if things have fallen into the well that would make the water polluted.

Have you ever been at a large gathering of people? You walk around talking  to various people. Some of them are pleasant to be around and others, not so much. We may start talking to a person and what comes out of their mouth is bitter or caustic. At that point, we can hardly wait to get away from them.

Have you ever thought that people are like wells? Inside each person is a well or a soul. When we talk to people, we experience what is inside of them. Each person shares part of who they are when they communicate with us.  If a person’s soul is healthy and whole, it comes out through with their words. If the person is full of bitterness, envy and jealousy, that also comes across.

What about our own wells? What is inside of us? Do we need to take a look at our wells and perhaps get some of the pollution out? I’m guessing we all have some things inside of our wells that need to be cleaned out. We just have to be honest with ourselves and admit that there are things inside of us that need to be changed.

Can we change ourselves? Can we make ourselves better people by the sheer force of our own will? I doubt it. I know that I would like to be a better person than I am but I am unable to make myself so. I must submit to the Lord, let Him know my problems and ask Him for help. Only then, can I let Him clean my well out make me into the person I desire to be.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Dead Men Can’t Defend Themselves

As believers in Jesus Christ, it is necessary to write to a higher standard than the secular media requires of us. If we want to write about someone who has hurt us personally, we need to think carefully about our words. It will be important to extend grace to the individual(s) as we write our story. Many times, we are not released to write about our experiences until the offending person has passed away.

trees in park

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com.

Most individuals are not entirely good or evil. They are, like us, a composite of both positive and negative traits. It would be easy to portray an offending individual in the darkest of terms and paint them with a brush entirely filled with black paint or in our case as writers, negative adjectives. People have also been shaped by the circumstances they have endured throughout the course of their lives. When we write about them, it is important to write about some of the extenuating circumstances they found themselves in.

When people have hurt us deeply, it may take us years to fully forgive them and be healed from the pain of their actions. Only because we have received the forgiveness that Christ offers, are we are able to extend that same forgiveness to the offending person. The further away from the negative experience we are, the easier it is to write about it from an objective viewpoint.

We need to remember that there are always two sides to any situation. When we portray the situation from our point of view, the offending person, if deceased, will not have the opportunity to provide an answer to our statements. There will be no one to speak in their defense, and even if their actions are indefensible, we should allow them a certain amount of latitude when sharing our story. It might seem impossible to do this, but I have found that through prayer, I am able to view them in a more compassionate light.

Remember, when writing publicly about those who have hurt us, we must reflect on the words we use. After all, dead men (or women, for that matter) can’t defend themselves!

Facing the Music

man playing violin on stage

Photo by Gabriel Santos Fotografia on Pexels.com

Every Saturday, I sit down and put all the debit slips from the week in my checkbook; I then balance the checkbook. The next week, same thing. Once a month, we get our bank statement in the mail and I have to “face the music.” Did I make any math mistakes…you know, add the two – carry the one? If so, when it is time to balance the statement, I must “face the music” and make the corrections. Sometimes, I do pretty good and I am about on track with the bank. Other times, I have made mistakes in our favor. That is always a good day when I can add money back into our account. There are other days however, when I have made mistakes that are not in our favor and I must subtract money from our available balance.

If the mistakes aren’t too big, I don’t mention it to my husband. My motto is: No harm, No foul,  but if the mistakes are over about $25.00, I feel I need to let him know. Not that he says anything, mind you. He just gives me that look that says, “Why don’t you use a calculator when figuring the balance?” The problem is: I do use my calculator now, but I can still make mistakes when entering the numbers.  No matter how hard I try, I still cannot do it perfectly.

Last evening, when I was out on my nightly walk, I began thinking about “facing the music” in terms of our trespasses. What if I didn’t confess them to the Lord as they happened, instead I waited until Saturdays to get things right? I would have to start writing them down in order to remember them all. You know how the list would go…I had a bad thought about someone, I had a bad attitude when I talked to my boss, etc… the list would continue on and on.

What if, rather than once a week, I waited until the end of my life to try and get things right with the Lord? What would that look like? I know one thing for sure; there is no way I could remember all of the wrong things I had done. And yet, some people saunter through life like that. They don’t even think about “facing the music” when they die. Surely, there must be a better way.

For daily debits, think in terms of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” For those who are sauntering through life not thinking in terms of “facing the music,” Hebrews 9:27 should give them pause: “And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Let’s face it, there is not a notebook big enough to write down all the sins we each commit in our lifetimes. You see, that’s why Christ came. The next verse says, “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.” There is a “Get out of Hell” free card, we just have to be willing to take it. 

Forgiveness Comes Before Freedom in the Dictionary

Remember when you were in grade school and your teacher was teaching you how to use the dictionary? You worked on papers where you had to decide which word came first. You would receive your paper and there would be rows of words, two at a time, and you had to circle the word that came before the other word in the dictionary.  Let’s say the two words were: forgiveness and freedom. Which word would you circle? Forgiveness, of course, it always comes before freedom in the dictionary.

black and white book business close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Just as it is in the dictionary, so it is in life. Forgiveness always comes before freedom. Over the course of our lives, we receive many offences from people, some large and others minute. We have two choices when we are in a position where someone has offended us: 1. We can either choose to hold on to the offence or 2. We can forgive.

Forgiveness can be a very difficult thing to give in our lives, especially if someone has hurt us deeply. Our tendency is to want to hold on to the hurt and nurse it. After all, we have been wronged. The problem with this attitude is that the unforgiveness that we carry does not necessarily harm the other person; it only harms us. We are a container and when we hold on to an offence, it is like a toxic substance inside of us. The toxic substance does not do our bodies or our minds any good, only harm. 

When it comes right down to it, forgiveness is a choice. We must choose to forgive those that have done us wrong. When we do that we become free of the offence. Is the process instantaneous; we forgive and then we are free? Sometimes, but not usually. Forgiveness is a process. We choose to forgive, and then we begin to walk it out. The memory may come to mind again and again, but each time we say,”I choose to forgive that person; I am not going to carry this around with me any more.”  Over and over, the process repeats, until at some point, the memory fades and that offence no longer has power over us.

You will say to me, “But you don’t understand what so and so has done to me.” You’re right, I don’t understand, but the process is the same. Jesus told us a great story about this principle. In Matthew 18, he tells us about a servant that owed a king a great deal of money; by today’s standards it would be several million dollars. The servant could not pay the debt and the king commanded that the man, his wife and children and all he had be sold to pay the debt. The servant then fell down and begged him to forgive the debt. The king relented and forgave the servant the entire debt.

The servant then went out from the king and found someone who owed him several thousand dollars.  He took the man by the throat and demanded the man pay him what he owed him. The debtor begged the man to have compassion on him and he would pay him what was owed but the servant would not show mercy. He had the man thrown into prison. Soon it was reported to the king what the servant had done to his debtor. The king then called the servant and demanded to know why he had treated the other man so harshly seeing that he had received mercy. He then threw the man into prison until all of his debt was paid. The story ends with this admonition from Jesus, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

The point of this story is that we all stand before God owing a great debt; that debt being our sins and trespasses. If we want God’s forgiveness, we must be willing to forgive those who have sinned or trespassed against us. It is a spiritual law of the universe. If we want it, we have to be willing to give it.

You will say to me, “But, you still don’t understand what so and so did to me.” You’re right, I don’t, but God does. 

In order to do this, we also must understand what forgiveness is not:

1. Forgiveness IS NOT saying that what the person did was not wrong. It was wrong and nothing will change it.

2. Forgiveness IS NOT saying that the person won’t have to make restitution for what they did to you. They still  may owe a debt to society and may need to go through the judicial system. 

Forgiveness IS you releasing them from the wrong they committed against you. They are still responsible before God and society for what they did. You no longer have to live in a prison of hate or despair over their actions. You can be free from them.

You see, in life, just as it is in the dictionary, forgiveness always comes before freedom.   

 

Like our GPS, am recalibrating this week…reblogging a few of my faves!

 

 

Forgiveness Comes Before Freedom in the Dictionary

Remember when you were in grade school and your teacher was teaching you how to use the dictionary? You worked on papers where you had to decide which word came first. You would receive your paper and there would be rows of words, two at a time, and you had to circle the word that came before the other word in the dictionary.  Let’s say the two words were: forgiveness and freedom. Which word would you circle? Forgiveness, of course, it always comes before freedom in the dictionary.

black and white book business close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Just as it is in the dictionary, so it is in life. Forgiveness always comes before freedom. Over the course of our lives, we receive many offences from people, some large and others minute. We have two choices when we are in a position where someone has offended us: 1. We can either choose to hold on to the offence or 2. We can forgive.

Forgiveness can be a very difficult thing to give in our lives, especially if someone has hurt us deeply. Our tendency is to want to hold on to the hurt and nurse it. After all, we have been wronged. The problem with this attitude is that the unforgiveness that we carry does not necessarily harm the other person; it only harms us. We are a container and when we hold on to an offence, it is like a toxic substance inside of us. The toxic substance does not do our bodies or our minds any good, only harm. 

When it comes right down to it, forgiveness is a choice. We must choose to forgive those that have done us wrong. When we do that we become free of the offence. Is the process instantaneous; we forgive and then we are free? Sometimes, but not usually. Forgiveness is a process. We choose to forgive, and then we begin to walk it out. The memory may come to mind again and again, but each time we say,”I choose to forgive that person; I am not going to carry this around with me any more.”  Over and over, the process repeats, until at some point, the memory fades and that offence no longer has power over us.

You will say to me, “But you don’t understand what so and so has done to me.” You’re right, I don’t understand, but the process is the same. Jesus told us a great story about this principle. In Matthew 18, he tells us about a servant that owed a king a great deal of money; by today’s standards it would be several million dollars. The servant could not pay the debt and the king commanded that the man, his wife and children and all he had be sold to pay the debt. The servant then fell down and begged him to forgive the debt. The king relented and forgave the servant the entire debt.

The servant then went out from the king and found someone who owed him several thousand dollars.  He took the man by the throat and demanded the man pay him what he owed him. The debtor begged the man to have compassion on him and he would pay him what was owed but the servant would not show mercy. He had the man thrown into prison. Soon it was reported to the king what the servant had done to his debtor. The king then called the servant and demanded to know why he had treated the other man so harshly seeing that he had received mercy. He then threw the man into prison until all of his debt was paid. The story ends with this admonition from Jesus, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

The point of this story is that we all stand before God owing a great debt; that debt being our sins and trespasses. If we want God’s forgiveness, we must be willing to forgive those who have sinned or trespassed against us. It is a spiritual law of the universe. If we want it, we have to be willing to give it.

You will say to me, “But, you still don’t understand what so and so did to me.” You’re right, I don’t, but God does. 

In order to do this, we also must understand what forgiveness is not:

1. Forgiveness IS NOT saying that what the person did was not wrong. It was wrong and nothing will change it.

2. Forgiveness IS NOT saying that the person won’t have to make restitution for what they did to you. They still  may owe a debt to society and may need to go through the judicial system. 

Forgiveness IS you releasing them from the wrong they committed against you. They are still responsible before God and society for what they did. You no longer have to live in a prison of hate or despair over their actions. You can be free from them.

You see, in life, just as it is in the dictionary, forgiveness always comes before freedom.