Daily Lent Devotional #33 (4/10/2011)

Today’s Topic:  “Embracing our Wounds Like Jesus”

Today’s Scripture:  1 Peter 2: 20-24

20 … “if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

 22 “He committed no sin,
   and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

Jesus embraced the sacrifice that he needed to make for the sins of the world.  But why did he retain the physical scars of his pain as part of his resurrected body?  We know that he used them as a way of proving to the disciples that it was truly him, but it seems that there is a deeper meaning to that.  Jesus bears his wounds in a public manner and has become for us the “wounded healer”.  Author Henri Nouwen actually uses that term for a book, focusing on how each of us are called to embrace our wounds (past pain, difficulties, trials, shortcomings).  Nouwen urges us to not run from, minimize, or deny our wounds; but to utilize that pain in how we show compassion through ministry to those in our lives.  As a counselor, I would be quick to point out that there is a danger in over-identifying with our wounds (where that becomes our identity), but there is indeed much benefit in bringing constructive behaviors out of our pain.  We need to “own” our pain in order to break its power over our hearts and lives; then we work with God to find the best way for us to bring redemptive purpose to it.

I will conclude today’s devotional with some thoughts from Nouwen on this process and may it encourage you to learn from Jesus, our Wounded Healer.

You have been wounded in many ways. The more you open yourself to being healed, the more you will discover how deep your wounds are. You will be tempted to become discouraged, because under every wound you uncover you will find others. Your search for true healing will be a suffering search. Many tears still need to be shed.  But do not be afraid. The simple fact that you are more aware of your wounds shows that you have sufficient strength to face them.

The great challenge is living your wounds through instead of thinking them through. It is better to cry than to worry, better to feel your wounds deeply than to understand them, better to let them enter into your silence than to talk about them. The choice you face constantly is whether you are taking your hurts to your head or to your heart. In your head you can analyze them, find their causes and consequences, and coin words to speak and write about them. But no final healing is likely to come from that source. You need to let your wounds go down into your heart. Then you can live them through and discover than they will not destroy you. Your heart is greater than your wounds.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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