Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Please, Lord, change my bandages and clean my wounds.

As a 13 year old boy, I was feeling positively triumphant with the pile of gunpowder I’d collected from “dud” firecrackers.  I remember thinking, “This is going to be SO cool when I light this!”  My eager anticipation instantly turned to agony, fear and dread in an explosive flash.

It was my first experience with 2nd degree burns, and unfortunately, it was my face and both hands.  For the next few weeks, I wore my stupidity for all to see.  My face, at least the left half, had lost the outer layer of skin (as well as the eyebrow and eyelash), and my hands were both bandaged to the point that I had to enlist my Dad’s help to be able to accomplish a trip to the bathroom.  It was a most humiliating time for me.

Every afternoon, I would lie down on the couch and Dad would tell me, “This is going to be unpleasant.”

“I know, Dad.”

“You cannot move.”

“I know, Dad.”

Then, my Dad would take some medical scissors and gently, thoroughly cut away at the edge of the burned skin as it continued to die back; the palm of my left hand, the back of my right hand, and the left half of my face.  Next, my Dad would take a Q-tip and scrub the freshly exposed new skin with ointment.  How excruciating!

It was love put into action, but it did not feel like love.  It felt like torture.  But, I did not have to submit to this treatment.  I was a healthy teenager, and I could outrun my Dad with no difficulty.

However, because I chose to submit to my Dad’s care – cleaning and dressing my wounds – I have no visible marks of any kind to indicate that I have ever been burned.  Because I chose to submit to my Dad’s care, I am healed.

Life is neither neat, nor fair.  This is especially true in relationships.  We are all wounded, and will be from time to time.  And, from time to time, bitterness and resentment will begin to rise up in us.  When this happens, it means that it is time to forgive again, because this is the stench of infection beginning to set in.  This odor tells us that it is time to change the bandages and clean the wounds… again.

When we forgive those who have wounded us, it is love put into action.  When God changes our bandages and cleans our wounds, it is His love put into action, but it does not feel like love.  It feels like torture, and I do not have to submit to this treatment.  However, if I choose to submit to my Father’s care – cleaning and dressing my wounded heart – then, re-cleaning and re-dressing my wounded heart...

...then, I will be healed.

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