-written by Jean Daniel
Do you have any scars? I have quite a few. I remember the first one I ever had was from a smallpox vaccination. As a child, those of us who had been vaccinated proudly displayed our “bad of courage.”
As a teen, I was in an accident in a Volkswagen Beetle which, due to driver error (I was not the driver), slid onto its side and then flipped three times. Every time I look in the mirror, I still notice the faded facial scars that are a reminder of the wreck. They may not be noticeable to others, but I still see them. As I aged, there were several surgeries which left larger scars.
Over time, all wounds have healed, but some left faded remnants. Likewise, emotional wounds require time to heal and some scars never fade.
During my first marriage, which ended in divorce, I protected my teenage daughter from the painful facts of the marital problems, even though she was somewhat aware of them. When the marriage ended, she chose to live apart from me before later deciding to move into my home. For a year, she did not speak to me. I cannot describe in words how this wounded my heart! She eventually learned the truth and we are extremely close now.
After the divorce, my emotional scars affected the choices I made and tampered with my self image. They followed me for many years and still occasionally haunt me today. Scars with no physical mark can often be more painful than those glaring ones you can see.
But God is a Healer! Just as the Lord heals our physical body, He can help us heal from emotional scars, too.
The first step toward emotional healing is forgiving others’ for their actions and sometimes forgiving your self. In Micah 6, we read how the Israelites caused great pain for God. He brings His case before them, much like in a courtroom. God shares how He had done so much for them, yet what did He get in return? They turned away from Him! They scarred His heart! You can hear the hurt in His voice as He declares His case:
And now, O mountains, listen to the Lord’s complaint! He has a case against his people. He will bring charges against Israel. ‘Oh, my people, what have I done to you? What have I done to make you tired of me? Answer me! For I brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from slavery. I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to help you’ – Micah 6: 2-4
God had attempted to teach the Israelites faithfulness as they camped at Acacia Grove, the last stop before entering the Promised Land, and at Gilgal, the first stop upon entering. But instead His people turned to idolatry, dishonest trading practices, extortion, lying, and violence. What pain it must have brought God who had loved and cared for them through the ages!
Wait! Is this not a description of our actions in the world today? Do we ever lie, cheat (it is tax season), replace God with idols, and sin to satisfy our personal desires? Have we ever locked Him out in the cold in spite of all the good He has done for us? Have we ever scarred God’s heart?
What were the Israelites to do to pay for their actions? Mockingly, it is asked, should they offer yearling calves, thousands of rams, rivers of olive oil, or their first born children?
God answers His people:
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8
God was willing to forgive them and guide them in the right direction. God is always willing to forgive when our hearts are sincere!
And this sounds simple enough: do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. But don’t we find this hard to do? Could it be because our hearts are not in the right place? Have we asked for forgiveness for the actions that scarred His heart?
Time to do a real life examination: What do you care about more than God? It could be sinful, like gambling, pornography, marital infidelity, and lying. Or it could be good things like hobbies, sports, family, social media, or even your self! How in your daily living do you break God’s heart?
I’m thinking we all have some repenting to do.
Do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly!
Jean enjoys encouraging other widows, jigsaw puzzles, reading, watching HGTV, and loving on her cat, Neeka. She volunteers at a Christian thrift shop three days a week, enjoys City Station Fitness, and love eating at the Mustard Seed Cafe! You will also find her greeting at Southern Hills.