When Wounding Is a Hidden Gift… Hello Hump Day Readers. I’m sure the topic of this devotion may give some a deep groan, but as I look at our society, watch the news of the violence and hatred that escalates daily, I can’t think of any better word but “wounded” – and who hasn’t been wounded? Would you call being-wounded a gift?!

Throughout the centuries, humans have wounded others with both words and actions. Today our social media outlets help us “hide” so we can wound all the further. Daily the pain never stops because the wounds continue. How do we heal ourselves, how do we heal others?

A quote from activist, James Baldwin, who himself was wounded and sadly, also wounded others, says: “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

For Baldwin, this was a direct referral to racism, but I believe it goes deeper than that. His analysis of the human psyche, for the most part, is pretty spot-on. And that takes us to the question of, “What do you do with your pain? How do you heal your wounds?”

You’ve heard of “Fight, Flight, or Freeze” a military tactic in combat. We are often in the trenches of life as well and it can truly feel like a combat-zone. No matter the situation, the human reaction is either fight, flight or freeze. Here are a few ‘3-F’ situations:

  1. Cancel culture…this is a form of projection—an attempt to offload the fear of shame and rejection by shaming and rejecting others. Read or listen to the news and you’ll realize how powerful and deadly this “fight” is. Rev. Carey Nieuwhof’s opinion on this ‘fight’ culture is: “Any leader is a walking target for people’s projection.” How often do we see people idolize someone then demonize them-ouch!
  2. For many of us, we take flight, and hope to never see, meet or talk to the demonizer again. Yet, Jesus says we have to “Stick our head out of the trench even if we know we will get hit. We do it because doing so is acting in love.” There’s a paradox indeed.
  3. For some of us we freeze-up. We do nothing, say nothing, and just stay in the trench hoping all the enemies will go away. That’s a pipe-dream as well.

Scot McKnight’s book on Pauline Pastoral Theology reminds us of the Apostle Paul’s travails. Paul believed “leadership as vicarious suffering.” His Epistles document the suffering he was subjected to. Yet, he never fought, never took flight and never froze-up. Paul had a different perspective; he saw his sufferings as completing the sufferings of Christ. “That’s just for saints” you say. No true—Scripture tells us we are all saints in the priesthood of the Lord!

Jesus was the only perfect man, yet his wounds remain—a reminder of the life he gave on the cross to heal our wounds. His wounds are sacred. We are not perfect, but we can let our wounds become sacred wounds as well; then they can become an outlet for the healing of other wounded souls.

Mark Comer says “The meaning and purpose behind our wounding is that it’s liberating us, one painful layer at a time, from our anxieties and attachments, from our shadow. And it’s maturing us, if we let it, into people of love.” I like that, however, being honest, I don’t like to be wounded, I don’t care for suffering, and I’m sure most people agree with that. Yet, if we look back, it is in those times of wounding that we often find the miraculous, the healing we’ve been yearning for—even the healing of a relationship we thought would never happen.

Comer also has a tidbit we can chew on: “If the meaning of life is not happiness, not pleasure, not up and to the right, but if it’s the healing of our soul through loving union with God, then wounding is a kind of hidden gift.” Ah, therein is the idea of a gift I started with in the beginning of this devotion. 1 Peter 2:24 [ESV] reminds us of this gift:

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.

Perhaps it would be good for us to take an inventory of our wounds to see if some are mending, or others still seeping, or worse yet, others are festering with infection. How has the outcome been for those wounds that are healed—was it beyond your expectations? Are we now praising God and able to move forward? It’s our choice to stay wounded, but doing so will lead us further from God and the people who love us.

In closing, Comer’s words give us a mandate: “We have to find a healthy place to let Jesus’ transform our pain into healing.” I suggest we start with prayer, reading Scriptures, and finding a trusted person we can confide in and take in the wisdom needed. We must take off the Band-Aid sooner or later or we will not heal—in our body, our mind and our soul. A weeping infected wound begins to stink, then rot and destroy. Unlike cancer, though, this is something that can be cured…if you want it to. AMEN.