This sermon was delivered in the monthly live service that took place on Monday 11th March 2013.
I got a cut yesterday, courtesy of one of my cats, who was quite enjoying being stroked by me until she suddenly decided that my hand was some kind of evil being that needed killing. So my attempt to be lovely to my cat has resulted in a deep scratch running along the back of my left hand and index finger.
It doesn’t look in any hurry to heal, but I know all of the rules…don’t pick at it, avoid plasters in order to let it breathe, use antiseptic cream to prevent infection, and otherwise generally let it scab over and heal itself…
We all know the danger of picking at a wound and not letting it heal – the wound that would once have healed perfectly well given time then becomes a scar that will never completely fade away.
But cuts and wounds are not only physical, of course. Sometimes they are mental, and these can be just as painful, if not more so, than physical wounds.
But, the same principles apply. If you keep doing things to aggravate the wound, it will keep opening up, causing more pain, and eventually, causing a mental scar that you might be stuck with the rest of your life.
But, like the human body, the mind has a remarkable capacity to heal itself. Most people have probably experienced some kind of relationship break-up which felt like the end of the world at the time. But a few years down the line, it usually doesn’t hurt you in the same way that it used to.
If you accept that the wound is there rather than trying to cover it up with a metaphorical bandage, whilst standing back and giving it room to breathe - although the ride may be a little rocky at first, eventually it will start to close up and heal.
We all get hurt sometimes, and it’s tempting to think that no-one else could possibly understand what we are going through and sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, going over things in our minds and almost making the wound a part of our identity. But what good is that approach really going to do us, or anyone else around us?
Just as you would tell me to let my heroic cat-battle-wound heal in its own time without being hindered by any counterproductive actions that I might employ, this is exactly what we should say to ourselves whenever we suffer a mental wound that might take a while to recover. Do you want to amass a collection of scars, or do you want to move on with your life, unmarked?