Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions
How many times have you heard someone say, Time heals everything? It’s a very common saying, but I’m afraid it’s not true—this old cliché, used so often to help others, doesn’t really work. It’s a deceptive slogan—it may work for some, but not many in my opinion.
I read of a psychologist who spoke of a young woman who came to see him. Her father had died 6 years ago, and she was very busy with 2 jobs. She found it very difficult to talk about her dad, or even think of him, without bursting into tears. To keep under control she had to keep busy. She worked all day, and every night, travelling most weekends—she spent hours cleaning her house. But her fiancé was getting really annoyed. He noticed she spent hours folding and refolding towels and putting them into the linen closet.
She was running away from her grief. Time was not a healer for her, and she had 6-months counselling. Today she is doing well and plans to get married next year. For her, the frantic behaviour was a cover-up for her grief. Time did nothing to heal—time only magnifies the pain, which can last 30 to 40 years in some situations.
Time does usually heal all wounds, but as I get older, I agree with Rose Kennedy, the mother of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy, who certainly experienced more than her share of grief. She said:
I do not agree that time heals all wounds. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.
I read of an older man who worked hard, but his wife had passed away recently, and he was speaking about his wife with one of his friends:
- I’ll be glad when a month has passed.
- What happens in a month?, his friend asked him.
- Then I’ll be over this.
This busy man had given himself a month to grieve and recover. This did not work—he soon learned that a month would not be enough.
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God knows how you feel
Maybe you’ve been wounded by hurtful words from someone in the family, or your parents said, Nothing good will ever come out of you. Or, I wish you’d never been born. These are hurtful statements, and can cause a deep wound of rejection. Some of the wounds are deep—you may have been abandoned, betrayed, abused, neglected or rejected. Maybe you were adopted as a baby, and no-one told you til later in life.
I like what Henri Nouwen says about all this in his book The Inner Voice of Love. He says:
There are two extremes to avoid. Being completely absorbed in your pain, and second being distracted by so many things that you stay away from the wound you want to heal.
What do we do? We speak to a loving God who knows how you feel. Only he can bring his divine grace and healing into our lives. After all his word says:
- “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17 – ESV)
- “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 – NIV)
- “He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 – TLB)
(To be continued in Healing Inner Wounds – Part 2)