I attended the Men’s Challenge at Central Christian Church last weekend. They had an opening contest to see who in the room had the craziest scar. I saw things that night that I’ll never be able to unsee, like how one guy moved something inside part of his leg with his finger. Thankfully, I’ll likely never learn the story of that thing.
The winner—unanimously cheered to victory—stood with one artificial leg and scars covering his other leg. By his quick recounting of a horrendous motorcycle accident, he likely shouldn’t be alive. It was a scar to celebrate.
It’s interesting how a bit of context can change the way you view a scar. I doubt the winner of the scar competition is hesitant to talk about how his body is now permanently marked. It’s a story of life that he carries with him. Yet we don’t always view our scars that way.
I continue to work on my own healing in this season. I’ve sat with two of my kids this week as they cried over our new reality. I continue to grieve all that was lost. My level of disappointment in how things played out burns every time I think of it. So much of it feels wasted and unexplainable. These scars don’t feel exciting and it brings me no joy to talk about them.
I’m not sure if it was because of the Men’s Challenge, or just where I’m at in my own journey, but something Paul wrote stood out to me in my reading this week.
“For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.”Galatians 6:17b
Fun fact: this is the verse out of which comes the idea of stigmata, the premise that some people physically develop the crucifixion wounds of Jesus on their body. I don’t think that’s Paul’s point here. It is likely Paul is referring to the physical reminders on his body of the events mentioned in Acts 14:19 and 2 Corinthians 11.
For Paul, these scars remind him (and others) that he belongs to Jesus. He celebrates them and would likely gladly talk to anyone about them. He’d probably have given our Men’s Challenge victor some tough competition.
Yet Paul isn’t alone in his scars, nor are the dozen or so men who came forward at the event. If you’ve lived long enough, you are likely aware of a few of your own. They may include physical, emotional, and even spiritual scars. We have a variety of scars, but we vary dramatically in how we think of them. And if we are following Jesus, we may just have more because of it.
Should we assume that those who follow Jesus would have scars to show for it?
Admittedly, I want the answer to be ‘yes.’ It brings a sense of validation to what our family has gone through this last year. If you have a similar story it could offer the same encouragement to you.
For all of us, it offers an invitation to live boldly. An invitation to step out, to release our need to succeed in all things, an invitation to trust that even when things go south, Jesus can still work for the good (Romans 8:28). If scars are the norm for Christians, then we should risk more than anyone else.
What do your scars show?If scars are the norm for Christians, then we should risk more than anyone else. Click To Tweet