I have been thinking of a compelling question asked by many. I’ve asked it myself, Does time heal all wounds? I’d like you to think about this cliché for a moment.
It’s such a complicated question. I have heard someone at a funeral service trying to be helpful to a wife who lost her husband. And they said, Remember, time heals all wounds. It was not an appropriate thing to say. In fact, it was a stupid thing to say. There was no real warmth or compassion in their interaction. It was like, I don’t know what to say. I’ve got to say something. We think we’re helping, but we are not.
Have you had someone say this to you? Or have you said it to someone else? Time does not heal all wounds. Tell that to:
- the parents that have lost a child and I guarantee you that the wound is still there, and it is a daily reminder in their lives.
- the spouse who lost their other half to an adulterous affair, their wound runs deep.
- the woman who went through an abortion years ago. I doubt there is a day that her wound is not evident to her.
Time may keep passing, but the wound seems to be as real today as it was when it first happened. Time seems to numb our wounds more than it heals our wounds.
When it’s said, it’s usually intended to be a word of comfort when someone is in the midst of pain or a painful circumstance. It’s often said after a great loss or in an end-of-life time-frame. I’ve often heard it said of people giving bereaved people advice, You just need some time, after all, time heals all wounds. It’s as if these well-meaning people are saying, Just sit back, and in time, you’ll no longer have the sadness, anguish, yearning, guilt, anger, and fear you’re feeling now. They’ll fade away, and you’ll be fine.
For those with illness, this saying feels like an insult. In some cases, time makes physical wounds worse—even deeper and more debilitating. The passing of time can feel like an enemy as the body withers away.
Healing a Broken Heart
Saying that time heals wounds is like saying that bypass surgeries save people from heart attacks. As technically correct as that is, we all know that procedures don’t save people. Heart surgeons save people. Psychologists and emotional-healing practitioners know that healing only comes through grieving, releasing emotional pain and trauma, facing the truth, forgiving, receiving love and other positive affirmations, and actively moving forward.
Time heals some wounds, but scars remain. Broken bones and bruised body parts mend and heal relatively quickly. But what about a broken heart? Time doesn’t heal every wound. Sometimes we just get good at pretending everything is okay, keeping up appearances, but falling apart on the inside. No, time doesn’t heal all wounds. It can’t! Ultimately, the only thing for a broken heart is God’s forgiveness.
I believe the Bible has the best answer to this dilemma—Psalm 147:3 (NIV) says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Ultimately, it is the grace and love of God that remove the heartache that we experience from the loss of loved ones. Yes, time is important in receiving the comfort of God, but through God’s Spirit, we rejoice both in good times and bad.
By God’s grace, we can experience the freedom from grief and hurt, but God doesn’t let that process happen overnight. Missing people who die and were close to us is important because it reminds us that God was faithful to have brought such people into our lives. But all things must come to an end so that we may allow the Lord to bring about new beginnings. If you believe God is in charge of your life, you can trust him to bring good out of bad or suffering.
Jesus, the Wounded Healer
When we tell people time heals all wounds we discount a wounded Healer, who came to restore the deepest parts of our stories. We look to time to save us instead of a God, who so graciously already did. He sent Jesus Christ into our world. He suffered and died for our sins. He knows about being wounded. We look at our clocks and ask them to wipe our tears away when we have a Savior, who promises he will.
Time can’t heal me. Time can’t make me better. But there is Someone who can. I can’t keep putting my hope in time. It will continue to fail me and continue to rip open the tender places in my heart. But I do believe in a God who was wounded so he could heal me. That is something that won’t disappoint.
I think it is important to try and understand the Christian perspective on this topic. The Bible says that only true peace can be found through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior; that only he can heal our physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds. With that in mind, I think that God uses time as a way to aid the healing process. By submitting to God through prayer and by being purposeful in your healing, time will ease the pain.
Time does not heal all wounds; Jesus heals all wounds. Jesus came to take our pain, shame, guilt, and wounds away. He was wounded for us so our wounds would not destroy us. He took the pain of death and sin so that we would not have to live in the pain and death of our sin. Jesus alone heals our wounds.
Jesus alone is the one that can take away our guilt and our shame. Jesus alone is the one that can fill us to the point of hope when we feel as if it will always be hopeless.