Every wound is an opportunity for either healing or infection.
This was the theme of our sermon last week. And it’s a statement that I’m has been replaying in my head all week. Largely because of the incongruity. We don’t like to think of our wounds, our hurts as opportunities. They are things inflicted on us. They are things we want to get past, to get over, to forget. We don’t want to think of them as opportunities, especially while we are in them.
And yet, each wound has one of two paths. Healing, leading to life, or infection, leading to death if untreated. Think about it. Up to the mid-twentieth century, more soldiers died of infection from their wounds revived in battle than died in combat. In the Civil War, for every three soldiers killed in combat, five died from infection of their wounds.
Our problem is that infection is easy. Infection is the result of our apathy. If we do nothing, if we leave things untreated, infection is a natural result. This is true in our bodies and is true in our social and spiritual lives.
Much of the problems we are facing in American society today is the result of untreated infection. I think this is most closely seen in the racial issues that we are seeing flare up again this summer. These issues keep arising because we have still never dealt with the underlying wound. We treat the flare up. We take some of the anti-biotics and put a bandaid on the situation, but we have never truly dealt with the wound.
We end slavery, but then start passing the Black Codes. We end Jim Crow and segregation, but start redlining. Two steps forward, three steps back, never fully addressing the wound. Always treating the symptoms.
Healing takes work. Full healing requires recognition of the wound, active participation in the treatment, and a commitment to see it through to the end. But the result often makes us stronger than before the wound. A scar will leave the skin stronger in that spot than before. Bones are temporarily stronger at the site of the fracture. We come through stronger.
Infection makes us weak. Untreated infection makes the whole body weaker. Not just at the sight of the wound, though that will continue to hurt. It makes us tired, we run fever, we ache. Infection spreads. Untreated infection starts jumping into previously healthy areas, until it is fatal.
I know I’ve used a macro example, but where is this playing out in our personal lives. What untreated sin is lingering out there that keeps causing an issue in your life? What infected relationship do you have that needs to be healed? What broken friendship, broken marriage, broken family relationship do you need to address? What part of your past are you treating the symptoms but not healing the wound?
Healing can take many forms. Licensed therapy. Counseling. Mentors. Twelve step programs. Confronting a brother or sister. Confession. Forgiveness.
There are a lot of ways to start that process.
What’s your first step toward healing today?