September 14, 2017
Modern medicine and plastic surgery have nearly eliminated lingering scars on our body that result from cuts and breaks. In our culture, which places major emphasis on physical appearance, these advances are welcome and appreciated.
I have been pondering the value of visible scars while thinking of the Apostle Paul’s comment in Galatians 6:17: “For I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.” Some Bible translations actually use the word “scar” in this passage.
Whatever else is involved in the meaning, there appears to be a definite statement of identity. Jesus has scars on His body from nails in His hands and feet and a sword mark on His side. Paul understood scars from beatings and stones used to try to kill him. He wrote about the mark of God on the life of each follower of Jesus in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Scars tell a story. I have scars on my face that remind me of lessons learned and life preserved. They actually become more prominent with age. I suppose they could be removed, but I find them a valuable reminder of God’s grace. One of them is the result of an accident when I was very young. The other came when Carol and I were spared from death in a plane crash 26 years ago. I do not want to forget those experiences.
I have some scars that are not physical. They are mental and emotional scars resulting from the words and actions of people who intended harm. Those experiences are contributors to my maturing process and I do not want to forget them. They are far more valuable to me than compliments that leave no scar and are easy to forget – a good thing.
I appreciate Paul’s reminder of the scars he carried. Whatever he had in mind, it appears he saw them as valuable reminders of his life with Jesus.
Pastor Bill Ehmann