Today’s blog is a continuation of last week’s: We Call, He Answers, and He Reveals. The purpose of this post is to spur us to do a heart check as we call out to God and await His answer. Perhaps, that sincere search will reveal to us our need for an open-heart surgery by God. God reveals to redeem. He does not leave His children who earnestly call out to Him in darkness. In the glorious light of His presence, the eyes of our understanding is illuminated.
Scars and Calluses:
The skin is a seamless organ but burns, injuries and other traumas such as surgeries can cause a scar on the skin. It is a mark that is left on the skin after the wound has healed. Scarring is a natural part of healing process after an injury. A number of factors however will determine its appearance. Scars don’t go away once formed. They are permanent but can be reduced in size and do fade over time.
Having been under the Surgeon’s blade several times in my life, I bear on my body several scars—some visible and some covered up. Some scars can form keloids due to an aggressive healing process and they tend to extend beyond the original boundary of the injury. I have some of those too. But I must confess I contributed to it. I learnt the hard way to keep my fingers off my wounds. The healing process was delayed and lengthened when I picked and scratched at the wound, and they formed big ugly scars. In instances when I exercised utmost discipline, the scars are thinner and have healed faster.
Scars can impair the function and vitality of the area it is located. For example, when the muscles of the heart are damaged, the heart tries to heal itself by changing the damaged heart muscle cells into scar tissue. Scar tissue is not like heart muscle tissue because it does not contract and cannot help the heart to pump. If enough scar tissue forms in the heart, it can result in a heart failure and sudden cardiac death.
A callus is a toughened area of the skin which has become relatively thick and hard in response to repeated friction, pressure, or other irritation. Since repeated contact is required, calluses will form on any part of the skin exposed to friction over a long period of time. While calluses are generally not harmful, they may sometimes lead to other problems. They can be reduced by softening the skin.
Emotional Scars and Calluses:
The deepest scars and worst calluses are not visible. They are the scars upon our hearts. Words that cut deep into the core of our being. Careless and thoughtless actions of others inflict wounds on our heart and damage the soft spots in our hearts. Deep-seated hurts from many offenses, unmet expectations and disappointments causes emotional wounds in our hearts. These wounds results in scars.
Dwelling on offenses will cause toxic thoughts to fill our heart. The longer these thoughts lingers, the more they take root in our hearts. We replay the hurts until they consume us and the wounds remain open. The longer the wounds are allowed to fester, the bigger and deeper the scars, often causing calluses and hardness in the hearts of the persons involved.
Often, the tendency is to harden our hearts to protect it from further assaults. People with calluses in their hearts will become callous, that is, showing an insensitive and/or cruel disregard for others—their hearts have become hardened. Other words for callousness includes cold-hearted, heartless, lacking compassion, and ruthless. Emotionally hardened, such individuals become indifferent to the suffering of others especially those to whom they have hardened their hearts.
Forgiveness is not optional:
Forgiveness is extending grace. It is extending the same mercy which we have received from God to those who have offended us. We, the objects of God’s mercy, are called to show mercy (Luke 6:36). Forgiveness is giving someone a gift of mercy, and wavering the penalty for their offense. It is also giving yourself, the offended, the gift of a grudge-free life.
When we withhold forgiveness, we not only refuse to offer what God freely gave us, but we also hurt ourselves. Unforgiveness poisons our soul. It weighs down on our heart. It also causes calluses to develop in our hearts thus hardening our hearts.
“Unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping another person will die.”
- Joyce Meyer
Ripples of Scarred and Callused Heart
The rippling effects of the oceanic earthquake may have far more devastating effects than the original earthquake as evidenced by the devastation caused by the tsunami following the earthquake. So also when an issue for offense occurs, magnifying the issue and allowing it to fester will lead to far reaching consequences than the initial offense. It is usually the strategy of the enemy to perpetuate the hurt, anger, bitterness and resentment generated by the offense.
Scars in the heart prevents us from having a vital and thriving relationship with God and with others including significant people in our lives. It also impairs our sensitivity and our ability to respond appropriately with compassion to their shortcomings. When this relates to Christians, it results in even a more grievous outcome because it also prevent the word of God from taken root in such the hardened and stony heart (Matthew 13:5). Such persons rationalize their position and actions even when it contradicts the truth of the word of God. It therefore hinders spiritual growth.
Our hardened hearts will make us believe that the situation is gone too far to be redeemed. It causes us to close our bowels of mercy against the person to whom our heart has become hardened, and to consider such persons unredeemable. The Bible offered us several examples of situations that were far gone that God redeemed.
God is the Master of the impossible:
He turned Saul, a hard-hearted murderer of Christians, to Paul, one of the greatest Apostles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no heart He cannot touch. He is the God Who restored the decaying body of Lazarus back to life. He can restore broken or dead relationships. He caused dry bones to live again. He can restore life and vibrancy to every deadness and dryness in any sphere of our lives.
What this tells me is that there is no situation and no one that is too far gone for God to redeem and turn around. Therefore, we will be putting a cap on God’s infinite ability if we give up on anyone and on any situation or deem that person or situation unredeemable.
|© Judykennamer | Dreamstime.com (edited)|
God is able to excise the scars and calluses that have developed in our hearts, and soften even the hardest of hearts. His word is like a hammer upon a hard rock. His word can break in pieces the hardness of our heart. We need to allow God’s word to cleanse us and wash away the bitter and painful experiences by being willing to let the word take roots in our hearts.
Consistent application of the Word of God upon a hardened heart can either soften it or break the hardness of that heart like the hammer shatters a rock into pieces (Jer. 23:29b).
You have a choice:
We have to be careful not to retain malice and deep-rooted bitterness in our heart. One of the ways to prevent scars from extending beyond the boundary of the wound is by not allowing the wound to fester—immediately cleaning out the dead tissues from the wound. Also it is important not to keep scratching, peeling and picking at the surface of the wound.
“…but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the devil that kind of foothold in your life.” – Ephesians 4:26-27 (The Message).
We give the devil the opportunity to build calluses in our hearts and harden it further when we go to bed angry and offended.
You were not called to be a prisoner of bitterness, malice and unforgiveness. When we allow bitterness to take root in our hearts, it holds the heart bound and defiles us. You can choose break down these prison walls. God is able to cut a path through the wilderness created in our hearts by the scars and calluses, and He can open rivers through the wasteland to revitalise our hearts if we choose to let go of the hurts.
We have the responsibility to guard our hearts with all diligence and vigilance from becoming callused and hardened.
“Get rid of the garbage and its offensive stench, and the rats that feasted there will leave.”
Will you take the persons who have hurt and offended you off the hook in your heart today? Will you release your pains and hurts into God’s hands and let Him avenge for you?
If and when you do, you will not only become free of the pain but you also open the door to God to do a spiritual surgery on your heart to remove the scars and calluses built up there.
Thank You Lord for caring about how much my heart has been deeply hurt and has become scarred, callused and hardened. I release my pain and hurts into Your hands right now. Thank You for showing me mercy when You gave Your only Son Jesus Christ to die for me on the cross. Thank You for forgiving me all my sins. I choose to extend the same grace, mercy and forgiveness to (name the person/s). I refuse all thoughts of revenge and ill-will towards _______. Thank You for giving me the grace to forgive and to let go. I ask You, dear Lord to heal and restore my heart to wholesomeness. Restore the vitality of my relationship with You and with all those who have been affected by the scars in my heart. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayers, in Jesus name I pray. Amen