None of us gets through life unscathed. We all experience pain, struggle, and difficulty. Some of us go through more, and some go through less. But pain and struggle are universal to the human experience. There are parts of us that are broken, dinged, and scratched up. We are all wounded. Eventually these wounds dry up and heal, leaving us with scars.
Hiding Our Scars is a Mistake
We often try to hide our scars. We might be embarrassed about our scars and feel shame, so we try to cover them up. This is a mistake for two reasons:
- Vulnerability leads to healing. If we hide our hurts, we will struggle to heal. Just like a physical wound needs to be exposed to the air in order to dry out and heal, the same is true of our inner emotional wounds. Vulnerability enables us to receive grace from others, which leads to healing. Trying to heal by ourselves, in isolation, doesn’t work.
- Being open about our scars can help others heal. When we are honest and open about our own scars, it can help others in their healing process. Other people may be right in the middle of their pain and struggle, desperate for hope. They may not believe healing is possible, or that life can improve or get better. By being honest about our scars and our own story of brokenness, grace, and healing, we can help show others the way.
Jesus Showed His Scars
I think it’s interesting that Jesus didn’t hide his scars. After he was crucified and rose from the dead, Jesus appeared to his disciples. Here’s what happened:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)
Before this point, the disciples were in rough shape. Jesus, the one they believed was the Messiah, had been brutally murdered. His followers had been scattered. They were afraid for their lives. Their faith was beginning to falter.
Then Jesus shows up, and he shows them his scars. Everything changes. The disciples go from scattered to united. They turn from fear to courage. Their faith is strengthened. This is a huge turning point in the Christian faith, and it happened when Jesus showed his scars.
What About You?
What about you? What scars are you hiding because of your embarrassment and shame? Remember, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Are you willing to come out from hiding and show your scars, both for your own healing and to help give hope to others?