The wounds are healing yet they seem to be catching the eyes of many now. I’m often asked, “What are those wounds?” A few YEARS ago, I had an allergic reaction to cement dust from the construction next door. My skin, from head to toe was red, blotchy, itchy, irritable, sensitive… the list goes on. I don’t think that even a mm of skin was spared. In sheer desperation, I had over applied medicated creams. It resulted in the skin getting much darker. Layers of hardened skin also formed resulting in these ‘wounds’. With time and a better understanding of how to care for my dry sensitive skin, the skin is being restored to the original complexion. It is becoming healthier. Thus the wounds that are also healing appear to be darker in comparison to the skin complexion! Despite the healing, people notice the blemishes and seem to think it’s a NEW problem as it stands out.
Jesus died on the cross over 2 millenniums ago. Three days later, Jesus rose again and ascended into heaven to take His rightful place on the right side of God. (We celebrate Easter in remembrance of this.) Through the blood He shed, our sins of the past have been forgiven – if we believe in Him, repent of our sins and invite Him to be Lord over our lives. We are also then blessed with eternal life in Heaven. Forgiveness of sins means that we are now cleansed as white as snow – we have a clean slate. We are healed from our sins!
My skin being restored to the original complexion reminds me of this clean slate. The fading wounds now stand out so prominently, despite the fading.
Our past sins are forgiven but we often need to face the consequences of these sins. It reminds me of David’s multiple falls (disobeying God and not doing what he should be doing which followed with adultery, cover up, murder). Ultimately his son was taken away from him. Having said this, God refers to David as a man after His own heart. Why? David genuinely repents and makes a U-turn in life.
The enemy doesn’t want us to enjoy the life that God has given to us. Thus Satan often brings guilt reminding us of mistakes of the past or wrong choices made with naiveté. Sadly he tends to use fellow believers. Condemnation is rubbed in when people point out the blemishes of the past that are actually fading. We tend to jump to our own conclusions at the sight of these blemishes and judge. Assumptions are made, the progress over the years are overlooked. Why? We see the old blemishes with a fresh eye!
Another possible issue is that we, the onlookers, want to appear ‘spiritual’ or ‘mature’ in Christ. So what do we do? We don’t even give them a chance to explain as we really don’t want to hear them out. Puffed up with our maturity or spirituality, we spew out Christian jargon. Instead of encouraging and building up others as we are supposed to (1 Thessalonians 5:11), we tear others down.
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us” (1 Peter 2:12). The KJV phrases this verse as, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold glorify God in the day of visitation”. ‘Pagan’ or ‘Gentiles’ refer to those who aren’t believers or rather better said as ‘followers of Christ’. (Many of us fool ourselves to be Christians but if we truly believed, our lives would be increasingly yielded to God.)
How should we respond to these accusations? Jesus clearly spells it out…
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11,12).
On the other hand, these blemishes remind me of the areas in life where I sin after becoming a child of God. The more we grow in the Lord, the more we are aware of our shortcomings as the Holy Spirit reveals it to us and convicts us. They stand out against the cleansed past! The more we are being cleansed, the more the little things become prominent. God refines us further and further to the minute detail, restoring us into His image! What a privilege!
If your “blemishes” are standing out, rejoice as God is doing a good thing in you!