In one of my previous posts – Unpacking & Unpeeling: The Process of Healing Emotional Wounds (part 1) we looked at the similarities between the healing process of wounds or injuries to our physical bodies and the healing process of wounds to our spirits, our souls, and our emotions. We looked at how God heals us in our emotions and in our spirits over time in the same way that he designed our physical bodies to heal.
In this post, we are going to take another look at the wound healing process. Specifically we are going to unpack what is known in the medical world as Chronic Wounds. Chronic Wounds are wounds that never heal right. They last forever. They require continual treatment and care way past the normal healing time. These wounds require constant cleaning, antibiotics and other specialized wound treatments in order to keep the patient out of pain. What is the origin and cause of chronic wounds? Why don’t they ever heal? How come some people are more susceptible to chronic wounds than others?
From a spiritual or emotional standpoint we can look at this and draw some key implications in terms of inner healing. A person who is generally emotionally and spiritually sound or healthy can suffer a wound, injury or trauma in their hearts. They will bleed. They will hurt and be in pain. They may cry and suffer for a while. However, because they are overall emotionally and spiritually healthy, they will begin to heal. They will begin to bounce back in a normal pattern over time. On the other hand, a person who is already spiritually and emotionally unhealthy to start with will not have the capacity to recover from small or minor wounds and offenses much less major trauma. They have no internal fortitude or resources within. Without out help, they will get “stuck” in their wound healing process. Without help, a person in this state can live in a perpetual state of half-healed limbo. The irony is that many people walk around like this. They look healed on the outside but on the inside they are still very much wounded.
According to Wound Care Centers, “A chronic wound is a wound that just will not repair itself over time. Chronic wounds are often thought to be “stuck” in one of the phases of wound healing. Causes of a chronic wound are varied, but the most significant ones are: the age of the patient, chronic underlying conditions such as diabetes, poor nutrition, stress, lack of mobility, and overall poor health.
What are the significant underlying factors that would cause a person to not heal right emotionally? One hugely important factor that prevents or stalls the healing process is unconfessed or unresolved sin still operating in someone’s life. No one is perfect. We all fall short (Romans 3:23). But to be healthy and whole, we must repent and receive grace daily. When we know we have done wrong in our hearts, there is no way we can adequately heal knowing full well deep down on the inside that we are not right.
Sin is a precursor and underlying cause of spiritual death. Physical wounds involve the death of living tissue. In medical terms, the death of living tissue is known as necrosis. Necrosis is a Greek word meaning the stage or act of dying. Physical healing of our wounds is the entire process of restoration of damaged or necrotic tissue to normal function. Our bodies will do this automatically by either 1) regenerating totally new living tissue to replace the dead tissue or 2) repair the dead tissue with scar tissue.
Jesus came to deliver us from spiritual necrosis. He brought life and healing through his own necrotic process on the cross. Then with great power, He was resurrected. The resurrection power at work in our lives will do two things in our wounded lives: 1) regenerate us all over again as if we had never sinned thus bringing us into righteous standing 2) repair the wounded areas of our lives with scar tissue. To prevent a normal wound of the heart from turning into an oozing chronic wound we must receive salvation from Christ and confess our sin regularly. In other words, don’t let stuff just pile up in your heart. According to 1 John 1:9, if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Another key driver in chronic emotional wounds is poor spiritual nutrition. Simply put, if you get into a car accident and suffer closed wounds and deep skin lacerations to your body, the doctor at the hospital is not going to prescribe a diet of potato chips, candy bars and soda. You will receive the most nutritious (perhaps not tasty) meals that they can serve you while you are under hospital care. On top of that you will receive IV fluids, antibiotics to prevent infections and perhaps vitamins. They will clean and dress your wounds daily and check on them.
Now how come we think that we can go through job loss and changes, divorces, child abuses and traumas, unnaturally hard circumstances, grief, relationship abuse, pain and struggles but not take care of ourselves emotionally and spiritually? We chose a snack diet of five minutes of prayer. We listen to one inspirational song on the radio. We go to church maybe once a month. We crack open the bible and read one dry verse. We don’t talk to anyone about our problems. We stuff it all on the inside and pretend.
Adequate spiritual nutrition consists of daily prayer time, daily bible reading, being with other believers who can not only uplift and support you but also speak truth (even if you don’t like it) and worship. Failure to receive spiritual nutrition on a regular and consistent basis will keep a chronic wound on your heart.
Lack of exercise or mobility is another issue with chronic wounds. Physically speaking, this happens to elderly people who cannot get around easily. Poor muscle tone because of lack of movement keeps the wound fresh and unhealed. When looking at this from a spiritual angle, we can easily see that if you do not develop spiritual muscles through exercise, when a wound or a fight comes, you have no strength. You cannot move and you do not heal. How are spiritual muscles exercised? Much in the same way you receive spiritual nutrition. They go hand in hand.
If you are renewing your mind daily in the word of God, the Word will be operative and active in your mind and heart. When the wound comes (and it will) you will have the strength to fight it off, not receive it or if it comes, you will be able to bounce back. If you are spending time in prayer daily, when the potential wound shows up, you will be able to quickly discern what is happening and be in a position to allow God to intervene without resorting to your fleshly human methods which usually end up wounding yourself and others. The whole point of spiritual nutrition and exercise is to not only prepare you for eternity, but to also allow you to live down here on earth in the midst of constant conflict and inevitable challenges that come to inflict injuries to your soul.
We are living in a world where most people are spiritually and emotionally malnourished, living off of crumbs and junk food, have flabby spiritual muscles, live under constant pressure, stress and strain. We continually sweep sins under the carpet when forgiveness and freedom is readily available. We then wonder why we get easily offended, we get our feelings hurt, and we get bent out of shape over simple stuff. We wonder why everyone is so angry and have a stinky attitude.
This is called foolishness. Long-term foolishness with our spiritual health causes wounds to stink and become rotten (think chronic). Calmly consider these three different translations of Psalm 38:5
My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. (KJV)
My sores smell and grow bigger because I do foolish things. (NLV)
My wound smells rotten. They fester because of my stupidity. (NOG)
Weeeeell, Well, Well! Perhaps this is the reason why we have many foul-smelling Christians. We fail to take care of ourselves yet we claim to know God. We don’t have time to continue the same cycle of foolishness and failure to allow Christ to heal our wounds. Chronic wounds may not cause immediate death but they will definitely impair and hinder our walk in God, impede our true destiny and affects the lives of others. Our failure as Christians to actually do what it takes to take care of and heal our wounds greatly impacts our witness and in some cases causes others to become wounded. Remember the saying — “Hurting People Hurt Others”.
Beloved, let us stop the foolishness. We cannot blame others for what they did to us. They may have inflicted the wound, but because of our foolishness we are the ones who let it get chronic and smelly. Let us not grow weary in well doing. Let us not grow weary in completing our process of healing. Let us do everything we know how to do in order to be healed and maintain our healing in Christ.