Do you have any scar stories?
I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, where you swap scar stories with your friends & try to one up each other?
I’ve got this scar on my ear from playing football back in my youth group days. I’ve got another scar on my chin from playing basketball with my dad in the back yard. He says I fell. I say he pushed me. I’ve even got this one scar on my leg from the time I got my first knife for Christmas.
But my guess is you’ve got way better scar stories than I do.
We swap & compare scar stories sometimes, but I’ve also seen us do this with our lives.
What do we speak of when we speak of our pain?
We speak of our pain, our brokenness, our scar stories, and when we do all we share is the pain, the resentment, the hurt & the hate.
We talk about the time that person did that to us, or our company… you wouldn’t believe how they wronged me. Or my husband, or my wife… or my friends…
So often, these aren’t really scar stories at all. These are stories of wounds that are still open & still in need of healing.
And those are just the stories we’re not afraid to tell.
You & I both know that what we often do with the real scars is that we hide them. We cover them up. We don’t want people to know about some of those scars.
Real People. Real Scars
When the church first started a couple of thousand years ago it was filled with real people.
If you have read any of what we call the New Testament letters, then you know that these were letters written mostly by a guy named Paul to different churches he either started or had a relationship with. And you know that they were written to real churches full of real people with real problems.
But Paul knew something that he wanted the first church to know… that all of us are perfectly imperfect. And that’s ok because there is something different about those of us who believe in Jesus. There is something beautiful about our brokenness. Something that should be evident for all to see.
Listen to what Paul says to this struggling church in the ancient city of Corinth…
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.
You & I both know, when we’re honest with ourselves, that everyone of us are fragile.
Everyone of us who claim to know Jesus & follow Jesus are broken. When we’re honest with ourselves we known where the cracks are in our lives. We know where we are less than perfect.
We know about our temper. We know about the lies we tell & perpetuate. We know where we have messed up, the mistakes we’ve made, the sins we’ve committed.
We are like fragile clay jars. Easily broken. Easily chipped. We pretend to be strong. We pretend like we have it all together. We try to dress up our clay jars & make ourselves look better than we really are. But the truth is, when it’s just us & God, we know… we are perfectly imperfect.
And what completely amazes us, what astounds us, what leads us to worship, what motivates us to praise God & love others is the fact that even though we are a bunch of cracked pots, we still have this great treasure inside of is.
This treasure is JESUS. ONLY JESUS.
And it’s Christ who is the light inside of our broken lives that shines through. We’ve been chipped, dinged, broken & had our lives glued back together more than once… but somehow Jesus in His humility continues to take up residence in our hearts & lives!
And what this does…
This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
And because of Jesus shining through the cracks of our lives, holding us together by the power of His Spirit…
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
We are perfectly imperfect, we are beautifully broken, but because the Light of Jesus lives inside of us we can’t be completely broken, we can’t be completely destroyed. We aren’t done. We always have hope. Because of Jesus who lives inside of us.
Kintsugi & Jesus
Have you ever heard of Kintsugi?
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken things with lacquer dusted or mixed with gold.
As the story goes the Japanese military commander Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke one of his prized Chinese tea bowls. So he sent it back to China for repair. When he got it back, it had been mended with ugly & bulky metal staples.
This prompted Ashikaga to task his Japanese craftsmen with the job of finding a better way to mend things. What they came up with was Kintsugi, which literally means golden joinery.
What happened next was interesting, because people began to think that broken pieces of pottery & ceramic were more beautiful after they had been repaired by Kintsugi. In fact, people began breaking priceless pieces so that they could be repaired by the art of Kintsugi.
I think this is true in our lives as well. What’s happened is that most of us try to cover up the areas of our lives that are cracked, fractured & broken. We try to move on & pretend that those things never happened. That it’s in our past. We even say forgive & forget.
But what is true in kintsugi is also true for us as well. Repair requires transformation.
If we would only let others see where those fracture lines are & how God has healed those wounds, people could see just how beautifully broken we are too.
Those fractures, that brokenness in our life doesn’t mark the end of our life just like the brokenness of the bowl doesn’t mean the end of it’s life. Those fractures mark an essential moment in our history. It’s part of our story. It’s part of our growth. It’s part of our healing. It’s part of what God has done in us.
And if you ask me, the broken life repaired by God is more beautiful than the life that gives the illusion of perfection.
The life that’s broken & fractured is the life that allows more of Christ to shine through!
Because you’re not just broken, you’re beautifully broken. And when you’re beautifully broken the light of Jesus shines through.
This is us… beautifully broken, the light of Jesus breaking through.
Because when the light of Christ shines in you it shines through you.
The Light of Jesus leaks.
Some of us today, we need let those around us see the broken places. We need to admit that we are perfectly imperfect. That there are fracture lines across our lives. But that God is the one who puts all things together & holds all things together.
And when we do, what people will see is not the broken places. What they will see is the light of Christ. Because light leaks. It shines out of every line.
So here’s my challenge for you: Show someone your lines. Share your story with someone.
Show someone the scars, tell them about the broken relationship, tell them a story about when your marriage was on the rocks, when you were wasted or wasting away. But tell them that what you want them to see isn’t you, it isn’t even the scars, it’s Christ in you. That’s what you want you them to see.
When people see our scars but hear the story of Christ we have an opportunity to share with them how Christ can bring healing to their lives too.
Sometimes what people see when they see our brokenness is anger, hate & resentment. So often, this is our natural tendency. We talk about what happened to us then we spew out all our anger as we pass around the blame & we talk about all the reasons we’re the victim.
But there’s something different about us who believe in Jesus when we share our scar stories. Because when we’ve had an encounter with Jesus, what we share when we share our scar stories is what Jesus did for us.
Let People See Jesus
Talk about your scars, but when you do, talk about Christ.
And if your in the middle of a broken moment today, look to Christ to be your healer.
Thomas, one of Jesus’ closest followers, once asked Jesus after his resurrection, “Show me the scars.”
Thomas saw the scars. But what he never forgot was the Light of the risen Christ!
When people see our scars, may what they remember is the light of the risen Christ!
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I serve as the Preaching Minister at Riverside Church of Christ in Coppell, TX. I enjoy sports, running, fishing & life with the family. I’ve been in ministry since 1999. My wife Alisha & I have three amazing children, Will, Ella Grace & Emma Love. Thanks for stopping by my blog.