This is the next sermon in our current series, “Scars: The Art of Healing”
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This is the third article in our current series:
“Scars: The Art of Healing”
Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”
There are wounds that at the time seem small but go deep and if left unchecked can infect and ruin your life.
When I was 12 years old, I spent the entire summer chasing carp. There was a stream that ran along Rt. 304 in New City and it was filled with carp…BIG carp. It was nearly impossible to catch them on a traditional rod and reel, so I improvised. I taught my dog Duchess to help me chase them from the deep parts of the stream to the shallow areas. Once we got them there, I would catch them with my hands and put them into a shopping cart that I “barrowed” from Stop and Shop. I turned the cart over and used it as a cage. When you’re chasing carp, you can’t worry about snakes, rats or other obstructions. You don’t think about what’s under the bank or in the bush. One day as I lunged for a carp, I smashed my knee on the rocks under a pile of debris. I’m sure it hurt at the time, but I was focused on catching the fish. A few days later I noticed that there was a small hole in my knee and a red line down my leg. My mother asked what had caused it, but I couldn’t imagine what it could be.
It looked infected so she took me to the doctor, and he began to probe my knee to see what was causing the issue. He took some tweezers and began to feel around inside my kneecap. Finally, he found something and when he started to remove it, it seemed like a magic trick. It just kept coming…and coming. It was a piece of wood that had gone into my knee. Astonished, he said, “How could you not feel that when it happened?” I’m 12 and I thought, “I don’t know, I was catching carp”.
Most people don’t pay much attention to wounds if they’re small, but it’s often the things we ignore that can have a profound impact on our lives. As we continue our series, I want to write about underestimating the smaller wounds in life.
Before we go any further let me define once again a wound and a scar. Wounds are injuries that are still unhealed. Scars are created from healed wounds. Our goal in this series is to let God turn our wounds into scars. But like physical scars we need to understand that healing is a process. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not there yet, what’s important is that you’re moving forward.
Now let’s get back to the power of small wounds. Think about it. A flea is small, but left unchecked it can reproduce enough offspring to kill a large dog. The termite is a tiny insect, but if ignored they can destroy a house. It wasn’t a battleship that won WWII, it was a comparably small bomb. If a small hole in a dam is not repaired, it could eventually destroy the dam. So, dealing with little wounds can avoid big problems. Have you ever wondered why you emotionally over-react in certain situations? Let me give you an example from my life. When I was a teenager and a young adult, I would unnecessarily over-react to certain expressions of authority. When I realized what I was doing, I traced it back to an experience I had when I was 9 or 10 when an adult mishandled a situation. It wasn’t a big deal, but it stuck with me. I remember feeling unable to defend myself in the interaction. It was a small wound that festered over time and caused me to sin by lashing out toward anyone who made me feel vulnerable. The other problem is Satan is an expert at taking seemingly insignificant events or comments and then lying to us about them.
John 8:44 says, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
One of his favorite lies is to make us question our value, then he weaves that lie into the fabric of our lives…it’s your fault, why didn’t you stop them, you’re not good enough, you’re weak, and on and on. How you deal with those lies, or fail to deal with them, will have a profound impact on the next generation of your family.
Small wounds can create lasting issues if we don’t allow God to turn those wounds into scars. So, we need to realize that little hurts often become big hurts. When we allow or accept little unhealthy thoughts or behavioral patterns into our lives it sets the stage for larger issues to arise later. If we ignore small, often self-inflicted wounds we can pay a price. Psalm 38:5 reminds us, “My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.” Whether self-inflicted or caused by others, we need to address them and not allow them to fester.
Matthew 13:24-25 says, “Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.”
We may think it’s not important to deal with that issue, that wound, and so we sleep. And while we’re sleeping the enemy is sowing weeds into our lives. Those weeds, those lies, create behavioral patterns. But when they’re pointed out we say, “I’m not too controlling, I’m not too defensive, my temper’s not that bad.”
And even if we’ve figured out why we act the way we do, we think it doesn’t really matter. We think there are bigger fish to fry…until our goose is cooked. You can live with your seemingly small wound, and its corresponding behavior, but can your children? Can your family? Should they have to? What price will they pay because you’ve passed on unhealthy patterns of behavior? Do you know where we get a lot of our negative behavioral or thought patterns? From the generation before us. But this is the good news, when you heal that wound, the corresponding behavior dies with you. Through the power of Christ, be the generation that ends the pattern…the lie. We need to understand that we will pay a price for allowing the “Little foxes” in our lives to destroy the tender vines.
Heb. 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Wounds fester if they are not “thrown off” and can infect the whole body. If that infected splinter in my knee was not treated it could have cost me my leg. I would rather deal with a wound early rather than let it linger and be consumed by it. Isa. 43:18 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”
Are you allowing the past to infect your present and dictate your future? Ask yourself what are you allowing to grow and fester in your life? Feelings of unforgiveness? A comment that someone made that for some reason still impacts you.
Someone once told me they were sitting on their father’s lap and he made a joking comment about their weight…and it’s stuck with them. They struggled with eating disorders for years. What lies are you allowing to control your life? Are you bitter because you feel cheated, wronged or disrespected by someone? Don’t allow the little foxes to ruin your vineyard. Take the time to sit down and talk with someone about it. Just share your feelings. You may need to go to someone who you felt has hurt you and explain how you’re feeling. Give them the chance to apologize or explain. I have a friend who grew up with me in my apartment complex in New York. He went back to people after 40 years and confronted everyone who bullied or teased him. He said to one person, “You ruined years of my life.” The person apologized and it helped heal that wound.
Remember, we can turn our wounds into scars by recalling what one of my all-time favorite characters Barney Fife used to say, nip it, nip it, nip it. Nip it in the bud.