June 20, 2024


“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  (Psalm 147:3, NIV)

I’ve had an active life. As a result, I carry quite a few scars on my body. I’ve had seven knee surgeries including two knee replacements. The replacements left a seven-inch scar on each knee. A surgery to repair a ruptured Achille’s tendon left a three-inch scar on my ankle. Several other injuries have left me with a variety of scars, some more noticeable than others. Bodily scars are the tell-tale marks of my active life.

Bodily scars are not the only scars I carry. My heart has its own set of scars.  I was a pastor for forty years. I have been disappointed, discouraged, deceived, misunderstood, overlooked, betrayed, criticized, judged, and otherwise let down in so many ways. I have been wounded by people who should have had my back. I’ve had sleepless nights carrying the stress of pastoral ministry.  I have scars on my heart, and you know what? I’m not alone on that journey. It’s not uncommon for pastors to be wounded. The Apostle Paul was well acquainted with wounds of both body and heart. He highlighted those struggles in his writing.  Every pastor today has their own stories to tell. For pastors, wounds of the heart are inevitable.  But what do you do with those wounds?  How do you recover? Does a wound today mean you will be forever wounded?

I’ve given a lot of thought to how scars on my body offer hope to the scars on my heart. Usually, people think of scars as ugly marks on the body.  But there’s another way to look at scars. A scar is a sign of a wound that healed. When you are wounded by a cut, your body goes through a predictable process. The wound bleeds, then scabs, then scars. The bleeding is evidence of the wound. The scab protects the wound while it heals.  And the scar is a sign that the wound has healed. The scar says the matter is over. Yes, it leaves a mark. But the wound doesn’t continue to bleed. It is healed. The Lord created us with the capacity to heal. It’s built into our bodies.

So, how about those wounds of the heart? Well, just like the body, the wounded heart goes through a process. The heart bleeds from the pain of the initial hurt. Then there is scabbing as the pain subsides but is not fully healed. Then a scar on the heart leaves a mark, but the heart no longer bleeds. Psalm 147:3 (NIV) says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” The Lord heals broken hearts. There may be scars, but the wounds don’t have to bleed.

The Lord wants to heal wounded hearts. But for many of us, perhaps most, the body does a better job of healing than the heart. So, there are three lessons that the heart can take from the body.

First, sometimes the wounded heart fails to heal because you don’t reach out for help. If you have a serious laceration or severe knee pain, you go to a doctor, who stitches the laceration or surgically repairs the knee. The wounded heart can learn from that.  Sometimes the wounded heart needs help from the outside. Instead of suffering in silence, seek help when you need it.

The second lesson from the body involves the scab. The scab is a temporary shield that protects a wound as it heals. We know that physically if one picks a scab the wound bleeds again and opens the potential for infection.  We know that you shouldn’t pick a scab.  But when a wound of the heart starts to heal, it is tempting to pick at the scab of the heart with a replay of the incident. The heart needs to learn from the body that if you keep picking a scab it bleeds and might get infected.

The third lesson involves the scar. The heart needs to re-think scars. Scars are a sign of a wound that has healed. Something happened. It left a scar on the heart. But it’s over. You need to re-think the scars on your heart.  They are signs of past wounds that have been healed.  Let them heal. Let them remind you of the healing not the wounding. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3, NIV).

Dr. Dan Borg – Regional Director, PIR Ministries