Loading the dishwasher the other day, I had a flashback of an event from my past that caused me to pause in disappointment. It wasn’t really a moment of shamefulness, but rather passing thoughts of “I really wish I hadn’t done that.”
The enemy still catches me in moments of weakness to remind me of those dark moments from my past that I’d rather forget. He speaks in my ear, “Wow, do you remember when you did that?! How could you?” I feel the pit in my stomach and I look around to see if anyone sees me as if I am reliving my sinful act again.
It’s a pretty horrific place to be in at times. But once I gather myself and regain my composure, I’m usually able to move through my day with little interruption.
I began seeking God about why those instances still seemingly haunt me. Despite confession and repentance, why is it that some memories just don’t go away? These scars of sin just never seem to totally fade away into my new complexion covered by the blood of Jesus.
And this morning on my ride to work, while listening to my morning sermon podcast, I heard from God’s Word something that eased my apprehension and explained His plan.
The preacher said, “The scars are not there to remind you of what you’ve done, but rather to remind you of who He is and what He’s done in you.”
Tears began streaming down my face.
For the soreness that is left behind from previous sin is not an indictment but a battle scar from the spiritual war zone that Christ pulled me from.
With that perspective, I understand fully Paul’s interaction with God over the thorn in his flesh. As irritating and interrupting the sight of a scar can be, its purpose is part of our earthly lesson for eternity.
God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
And Paul responds, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s
sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Regardless of how the scar got there (because some wounds and scars come as a result of suffering in obedience too!) we can glory in the fact that these scars – unsightly marks, wounded emotions, never-quite-the-same limbs – are the very places in which Christ rests upon us. The calloused skin or keloids left behind mark the precise spots where Christ intervened and made us stronger.
In my conversation with the Lord about this, He left me with this final thought. Despite how it may feel to experience a flashback or be reminded of who you were, God says today and every day, “Don’t worry. There’s grace for that.”
Diera Shaw-Mendez is a minister and youth leader at New Beginnings Worship Center, Pennsauken, NJ, and works full-time for an educational nonprofit in Philadelphia. She is wife to Chaplain Juan Mendez and mama to Olivia Joy. She spends her “spare time” running an online invitation design shop on Etsy and write occasionally for her personal blog, With Style, By Grace. Diera is a God-fearing, Starbucks loving, tech junkie (…in that order!) who simply wants to inspire women to invest in THE beauty that never fades!