I am a scarred person. Ten knee surgeries, other scars from bicycle accidents (hey, I was a klutz growing up), a shoulder surgery, gall bladder removal and hernia procedure comprise the list of my physical scars. These scars, especially the ones on my knees, serve as reminders of injuries from the past, healing that was never easy, pain that was overcome.
I am recalling these words of Brian McLaran, “Resurrection life is for scarred people and scared people. When we come together as we are, we begin to rise again, to believe again, to hope again, to live again."
I sometimes wonder if I will still have my knee scars in the next life. I have to assume so because Jesus showed the disciples and Thomas his scars after he was resurrected. The hope in my life of faith is because his scars are evidence of the ultimate sacrifice for all humankind. Mine are mostly signs of defective knees and a multitude of steps taken to try and repair them.
Most of my scars are actually internal, like everyone else I imagine. My life has been a constant uphill battle complete with being neglected and neglecting my own right path. I have been hurt and I have caused pain. I have been rejected and have pushed away many trying to love me. These are highly negative things.
But there are also mysteries within me that I may never understand. I despise being lonely yet I love being alone. My “love language” is physical touch which means it is difficult for me to not hold my wife’s hand when we are together. I suppose it is my need for security that causes this. For reasons not present in my conscious mind, I can be insecure.
I am scarred and scared. So are all the people I have ever met. McLaren’s line flies in the face of my desire for seclusion, yet it highlights the beauty of what happens when God’s people, all of us, recognize our need for one another. Nobody sits higher than the other. Nobody is lesser. We are the band of misfits that God makes fit in spite of ourselves.
We need to constantly lean into the love and admiration of those cheering us on. My cloud of scarred and scared witnesses strengthens me to push the boulder of my life one more foot up the hill. We all need one another in spite of our faults and frailties.
The disheartening reality we face in our churches today is how cultural divisions have been allowed inside the doors. We can and must be and do better. If we look around the church with God's eyes, we will see a group of followers who are just as scarred and scared as we are. Faith is being able to swallow our pride and join this band together. With our eyes looking upward to the light of Christ and our hands held with our neighbor's, there is little we can't overcome.
Scripture teaches us that all things are possible with God. That includes today's polarizing atmosphere if we allow God to work through us to rise above it. Only then will we rise again, believe again, hope again, and live again.
What stories do your internal scars tell?
What have you learned because of them?
How have God's people rallied around you to show you God's love?
What would be different if you saw the people in your church through God's eyes?
When was the last time you intentionally connected with someone in God's family?