Most of us have scars on our bodies. I have a noticeable scar on my forehead. In the days before seat belts, I was sitting on the front seat of my Grandmother’s car, when she slammed on the breaks to avoid hitting a bicyclist and I slammed into the dashboard. Stitches were required! I have other visible scars – from surgeries and other accidents over the years. The pharmaceutical companies now have medications that will “lighten or do away with” the scars. Some people want to hide their scars while others proudly display them as badges of honor. What scars do you have? Do you hide them? Does each scar tell a part of your story? How do you reveal your story (and your scars) to others?
Not only do we have scars on our bodies, we also have emotional scars on our hearts as well. We tend to hide those scars the most. What emotional scars do you have? They too tell a part of your story! Jesus had scars on his body (remember the painful whipping he received as well as the nails at the crucifixion). Jesus also had emotional scars. Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, James and John’s desire for glory, the disciples’ lack of faith, the lack of compassion of the religious leaders of his day, all added to Jesus’ emotional scars. They are a part of His story. Does your story intersect with Jesus’ story? That’s where prayer enters the picture.
We need to own our stories and our scars. We can’t begin to help others unless we name our hurts and weaknesses. So begin by naming your scars and claiming each story associated with that scar. Does your scar represent a relationship that has soured; a business that failed; a bad decision that changed your life; a path not taken; or a lack of forgiveness? Pray for each scar and each memory. Pray for each person involved. Pray that you will be able to own the scars and to take responsibility for them. Pray for those you have hurt and those who have hurt you. The scars that are the deepest are the ones we need to deal with first. Face up to what that scar represents. Ask forgiveness – from God, from the others involved, and from yourself. Then go to the next scar.
Physical scars can be traced with our fingers and in this way are noticed by us and tended to. Emotional scars are easy to ignore at first. They eat away at our self-esteem and our dignity. Our confidence plummets and we can’t figure out the reason. Look into your soul. Pay attention to what has hurt you (or continues to hurt you). Most of all, don’t suppress it. Don’t hide it or hide behind it. Own it and pray about it.
I have a scar that shows through my hair. It is from my brain surgeries. You wouldn’t notice it if I’d let my hair grow longer. I like my hair short and I don’t mind the scar. It reminds me of all those who have the disease I have (moyamoya) and I pray for them. Scars can be prayer reminders! Every emotional scar, every physical scar, every hurt, every disappointment can remind us to pray for others. Sometimes, that is the only way we remember! Who are YOU praying for today?
Rev. Bev Hall, pastor of Pleasant Hills United Methodist Church, Middleburg Heights, OH