Last week, while on vacation, my tween got a nasty cut on the tip of his finger. It wasn’t one of those superficial cuts that you stick a Band-Aid on and forget about, like the one on his knee that seemed to heal itself overnight.
This wound will be high maintenance, I fear, and take a while to heal. It’s so vulnerable, an area of the body that’s so active and important for everyday life. We’re all doing what we can—short of wrapping it in bubble wrap—to steer clear of it.
It can be really hard to protect a wound from further damage from outside influences. That got me thinking about other kinds of wounds.Deep wounds that are just as vulnerable to daily life but aren’t front and center for all to see and tiptoe around.
I’m talking about spiritual wounds. The negative spiritual effects of painful physical events, particularly chronic ones we’ve pushed so far down it seemed like they’d healed—only to find out they hadn’t.
How about you?
Has betrayal, rejection, sin, loss, or abuse cut you to your core? And are the wounds still open?
I understand, friend. I’ve had my share of spiritual wounds, some lasting for decades because I wasn’t willing to commit to treatment.
Good news, though…
The Great Physician can completely heal our broken heart and bind up our wounds, healing and making us whole.
But, just as with any physical wound, we have a role to play in our healing. There are steps The Healer would have us take to partner with Him in our recovery and restoration. Yes, sometimes God chooses to work a miracle in our lives, healing us immediately of the pain and completely shutting up our wounds for good. It can happen!
However, for many of us, spiritual healing will be a process. And, honestly, it wouldn’t be fair of me to tell you that these three steps are easy-peasy, that healing will happen overnight, or that you’ll never receive any more wounds.
But, I can tell you that, though it may take longer than we’d like, through God’s grace and mercy it is possible to have our once-and-for-all healing.
CLEANSE THE WOUND
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
As with any physical wound, spiritual wounds must be thoroughly cleansed in order to prepare for complete healing. And that can really be a painful process.
Our cleansing starts with prayer. We must come to Him, earnestly asking in faith that He heal us and make us whole. And we must be willing to receive our healing.
Though most spiritual wounds are caused by others, we ourselves can be the cause of our spiritual damage. No matter the cause, unforgiveness is at the root. We must ask God to help us forgive those who’ve hurt us (even if that means asking Him to help us forgive ourselves). Forgiveness is a choice that has to be made to break the cycle of chronic spiritual debilitation and bondage.
When we forgive, we purge bitterness, strife, resentfulness, hurt, anger, guilt, self-pity—toxins that otherwise would negatively affect the wound and hinder its ability to completely heal. This cleansing prepares us for our long-awaited, complete healing.
Make the choice to forgive. It’s time to finally be healed, friend.
PROTECT THE WOUND
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)
Just as I bandaged my son’s wound for protection from germs and things around him that could do further harm, spiritual wounds must be guarded from outside forces that would slow or stop the healing, even cause more injury. While trusting that God is doing His part to bind up our wounds and ultimately heal us, we can help by vigilantly protecting our wounds.How?
By the renewing of the mind.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
You might ask what the mind has to do with a spiritual wound. I’d argue that’s exactly where the spiritual wound’s hold over you is housed. Sure, your everything hurts from what’s been wrongly done to you or because of the self-inflicted pain. And it’s our fleshly desire to become mired in self-pity. However, when we focus on our own pain, we open ourselves up to the enemy because we’re then dwelling on the hurt instead of believing in the healing. But we can come against him by focusing on the things of God and what He’d have us do while awaiting our healing.
The last thing the evil one wants is for us to get our eyes and mind off of self and start ministering to others in Christ’s name.
So guess what?
That’s exactly what we must do!
MONITOR THE WOUND
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.-
No different than any physical injury, when our spiritual wounds aren’t closely monitored, we run the risk of infection. Infection can quickly spread to the rest of our lives, poisoning our faith and our relationship with Him and with others. When this happens, we’re destined for more of the same—more chronic spiritual wounds and the inability to experience liberty in Christ.
The enemy would love nothing more than for us to keep dwelling on the injustice that we’ve endured, to infect us with more anger, hurt, and doubt of our own healing. This is how he attempts to talk us out of surrendering our pain to God so that we would receive healing. He knows that when our wounds are truly healed that we’ll give glory to God and no longer be in bondage to him.
For our wounds to heal completely, we not only have to continue the process of cleansing and protecting until they become scars, we have to monitor our wounds, closely examining them for the first signs of infection.
If you’ve been suffering from a chronic spiritual wound and doing your best to hide it—even from God—it’s time to ask for healing. Confess any unforgiveness, and lay your pain at His feet.
Trust the Great Physician for healing.
Then ready yourself, my friend, to proudly wear your scar as a beautiful badge, a testimony to Him. For by The Master Surgeon’s hands, your wounds have been closed!
Writer by day, transcriber by night, Renee is a boy mom, PPD survivor, recovering fear-a-holic, and former educator. She lives on Christ and caffeine as she attempts to finally transcend mediocrity and live the life Jesus died for her to have. When not tied to her desktop and swimming in coffee, the native Floridian can be found wherever the water is salty, spending time with her son and husband of 15 years.
She’s a contributor to The Good Men Project, Crosswalk, and, most recently, The Washington Post. You can learn more about Renee’s journey and her passion for helping women find their worth in the Word, not the world, at The Stay@Home Scribe.