My wife has surgery scars over both of her hips. Because of complications caused by prednisone, she had to have them both replaced by the time she was 35. Shortly after her second surgery, she looked at her scars and said, “They’re ugly.” I looked at her scars and told her, “Honey, those aren’t scars. Those are your racing stripes! They make you look faster!” She laughed. It didn’t make the scars go away but it did help her to see them in a new light. I wanted her to know that I didn’t care about the scars. I was just happy to have her. As much as they are reminders of difficult surgeries, those scars are also reminders of healing.
The Lord’s Scars
Consider the scars Jesus Christ bears in His body because of Calvary. Without them, there would be no salvation. They tell the transformation story. The scars we bear can be used by God to help us tell our transformation story and bring others to Christ.
The Scars We Have Inflicted on Ourselves
I know of a young man who when he was in the army, and before he came to Christ, got himself some tattoos, like many young men in the army. He had one on his forearm that at the time he was quite proud of. Then he came to Christ. He soon came to realize that the tattoo he had once been so proud of was lewd and demeaning to women. He had it altered so that the image was completely covered. (This was before laser tattoo removal.) He is embarrassed by the whole ordeal, but he’s also been able to use that old mark as a starting point to tell others of his transformation. That tattoo is a reminder of his old life that he has used to tell others of his new life in Christ.
I also know a young lady who as a very small child was badly burned in a house fire. Her injuries disfigured her. She’s had to deal with a lifetime of shocked expressions and scared reactions to her appearance, but those same scars have led to the creation of a lifelong testimony and ministry about how to find God’s grace even after difficult circumstances. When she speaks of overcoming setbacks, her testimony speaks volumes beyond her words.
Scars that No One Can See Except You and God
There are scars people bear that no one can see, deep emotional scars because of abuse, neglect or personal tragedy. God understands that hurt and He is pleased to have us come to Him with those “invisible” scars. They are perhaps the hardest to bear because we can cover them up, put on a brave face and act like there’s nothing to see. But sometimes God is better served and better glorified when we make ourselves vulnerable by telling others about those silent scars. Because by seeing God’s grace in your life you bring great hope to those who are suffering in the same way and great healing to yourself.
Scars That Put Others to Silence
When the apostle Paul dealt with the Judaizers, Jewish believers who insisted that male believers had to be circumcised in order to be completely saved, he rightly accused them of doing this to avoid persecution and to gain bragging rights for their influence over others (Galatians 6:12-13). In response to their vanity and pride, Paul reminded them of the many things he endured for Christ. As proof of his credibility, he referred to the literal scars he bore in his own body:
From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. (Galatians 6:17)
He proudly carried his scars because he bore them for his Savior. If Paul had never been converted on the road to Damascus, he could have gone through life without a scratch. He also would have gone through life with no impact for the Lord Jesus Christ.
They’re What Makes You Beautiful
The scars you bear either from your past or for your walk with Christ, if they are borne for Him, do not make you ugly. They are what make you beautiful for Him.
[Photo by Glenn Haertlein on Unsplash]