If you have ever experienced a severe cut or laceration, you are painfully aware of how careful you must be to get that kind of wound to heal properly. Any foreign material must be removed and the damaged area must be carefully cleansed. Antiseptic is applied to help prevent the development of an infection. A medical professional will then use some method to draw the edges of the wound together. Sometimes, strips of adhesive material will suffice. In more serious cases, stitches or staples are employed. Pulling the edges of a wound together provides the best opportunity for complete healing and minimal scarring. A gaping wound that is not stitched or stapled together may eventually heal itself, but it would take much longer and the scars left would be much uglier. The wound is then dressed to help protect it from re-injury and the patient is counseled to refrain from any action that might aggravate the wound as it heals.
Hopefully, the parallels between physical healing and spiritual healing are obvious. When the body of Christ is wounded, gaping spiritual lacerations are often the result. If these deep cuts do not receive attention, infection can set in. And if the infection is not addressed, death can result. Individual members of a wounded congregation are called to apply the cleansing antiseptic of God’s grace to the affected area and to draw the ragged edges of any spiritual wound together with the sutures of God’s love. The mended area must then be protected with the gauze of God’s healing from any attempt to tear out the stitching and re-open the wound. Continual aggravation of a spiritual wound only prevents or delays healing and always leaves ugly scarring.
May God help us all to be the kind of disciple who promotes healing rather than further damage. It is our Heavenly Father who “…heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). May we emulate the Great Physician as we seek to heal the wounds experienced by the body of Christ.
God loves you!