Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I think everyone can remember the 1975 Steven Spielberg movie Jaws. It was a scary movie, with some very interesting characters.
There was Quint, the shark fisherman, Hooper, the oceanographer, and Sheriff Brody, played by Roy Schneider. Schneider has the most famous line: “You’re going to need a bigger boat!” he says when he first sees the huge size of the shark.
He was right of course—Quint’s boat was leaky and terribly inadequate. But in one of the scenes, one night in the galley, the men drink apricot brandy while Quint and Hooper compare their scars. They were boasting to each other about their different experiences at sea and in arm-wrestling. It was all a bit of fun to break up the boredom, and both men finally burst into laughter, and Hooper says, “Okay. I’ve got one, the crème de la crème! Right here, see that?” pointing at his chest. “Mary Ellen Moffat—she broke my heart!”
What kind of scars do you have?
I guess many of us could participate in a contest of scars, but perhaps with less dramatic boasts. What kind of scars do you have? An old childhood accident or something in more recent times. Maybe you have scars from surgery or from an accident. We could have our own contest of comparing scars. Fortunately I think we forget a lot of those physical scars which heal in time, thankfully. The body is wonderful in the way this happens, isn’t it?
But Hooper’s joke in the Jaws movie, about Mary Ellen Moffat breaking his heart, has the ring of truth to it. It makes me realise that our emotional scars are much more difficult to heal. If we were honest about it, we would admit to some emotional scars. Those scars don’t show on the outside, but those inside scars are a lot harder to heal.
I remember an old song from Roy Orbison who sang: “Love hurts, love scars, love wounds, and mars”. It’s easy to see physical scars and wounds. You can see if they are old or new, or whether the wounds need to be stitched by a doctor or if a bandaid will suffice. But emotional wounds and scars are not as easy to detect.
Many years ago, a plastic surgeon named Dr Maxwell Maltz wrote a book entitled New Faces, New Futures. In it he talked about how in his practice, there were people who had been involved in an automobile accident and horribly disfigured and scarred. And because of that, their self-image would be affected. And then he would perform plastic surgery and correct some of those distortions in their physical body. And when he would change their appearance, it would have a dramatic affect on how they felt about themselves.
But he continued to follow those people throughout the course of their life and he noticed that after a period of time, some of those people slipped back into depression. They slipped back into a process of pain even though outwardly they were healed. On the inside, they were still insecure and still very, very anxious. He came to the conclusion that when you want to have a lasting change in personality you have to heal the emotional scars as well as the physical scars.
The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope. (Psalm 34:18 – GNT)
Some emotional scars and wounds are in desperate need of treatment but have been ignored for years. Ignoring these types of scars and wounds may result in serious psychological damage. It is important to not only recognise when you have emotional wounds but also know what is needed to heal the hurt.
There are many traumatic situations—accidents, physical, sexual abuse, natural disasters, human disasters, deep grief—in which we feel shattered, broken, longing to be put back together again. Modern medicine may be able to heal our bodies, but has greater difficulty returning us into a reintegrated whole.
Psalm 34:18 (NIV) says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” That’s the wonderful message from God’s Word. He comes with healing and encouragement, but we need to face up to the wounds and hurts in our life.
Do you really want to be healed of the inner scars, or do you just want to feel better? Do you want to get straightened up as it were, or do you just want your leaning halted a bit? In Part 2 we’ll continue this topic looking at Joseph from the Bible who had deep inner scars to deal with.
(To be continued in Scars of Life – Part 2)