Monday, February 16, 2015


Hanging around Christian folks and listening to Sunday church sermons, you will likely hear a common theme about how authenticity matters. This message is all about being open and honest about who we are and not hiding behind crafted personas; we should not pretend to be something that we are not. Most of the time folks can see through our smoke screens pretty easily. However, acting one way while actually living another way can undermine the faith in ways both subtle and overt. While most people can appreciate this idea, we still tend to try our level best to hide our scars and the baggage associated with those scars. Scars that can be seen reveal our screw-ups, our failures, and our shortcomings. We worry that if folks truly understood how often we had messed up and the size of our problems, they would treat us in ways that we do not want, that we would be singled out as pitiable, or that we would be ostracized or excluded.

However, every once in a while a scar can also be a sign of a life-saving measure or a great victory in our life. Sometimes the scars of a messy divorce can actually take us away from a dangerous and abusive person. Sometimes being fired from a job can ultimately be a blessing if it gives us peace. Sometimes getting into severe financial straits can finally force us to learn how to manage our money and live within our means.

Today I bear a physical scar that was the result of a lifesaving measure. In September of last year I became convinced that my slowly increasing weight needed some attention. The obvious angle of attack was to cut out my pre-bedtime snack. While having a few cookies or some chips while watching T.V. or reading my book gave me comfort, over time I had put on a few pounds that lead to a mid-section bulge and to elevated blood pressure. In early December I had lost about 15 pounds and my tummy was noticably flatter. However, the weight loss also revealed a tumor that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. A scar remains where the tumor was removed, but that scar is one of victory. In fact, it seems that if we have not learned a lesson that changes our approach, our attitude, or our thinking with each scar that we bear, then those scars are truly something to be hidden as unsightly injuries. However, if we learn from our injuries, then those scars can be ever-present reminders of what we once were or how we once thought.