Friday, June 26, 2009

Flesh Wounds

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalm 119:165)

“Flesh wounds produce no internal injuries.” I read (or heard) this recently and thought to myself, “No, not unless you allow them to fester and initiate internal rottenness.”

We live in a society that prides itself in “telling it like it is,” even when it really isn’t the way we think it is. Free speech is not always the same as helpful, kind, or even accurate speech; and for that reason, you and I run the risk daily of being on the receiving end of cutting criticism that has the potential of wounding us. But it is up to us to decide just how deeply we allow the wound to go.

Proverbs 18:14 tells us that a “wounded spirit” is unbearable. And it shows every time. Once we allow slights and scorn to seep into our souls, we become unappealing to those around us and ineffective for God. Who wants to be in the company of someone who is constantly nursing a hurt? The verse in Psalms says the antidote for this tendency to take offense is the peace that comes from not just knowing, but loving, God’s Word. There is nothing like being in love to make one oblivious to nonessentials!

How then do we keep flesh wounds from becoming potentially lethal? Well, first of all, we need to recognize them as being just that: flesh wounds. Scrapes, bruises, and bumps that may sting like the devil are not likely to kill us. Then, we need to develop what my husband calls “a tough hide and a tender heart.” The verse says, “…nothing shall offend them.” That’s a fairly sweeping statement. I realize the New Testament assumes we will all be guilty, at one time or another, of offending someone (James 3:2); but it does not take for granted we will all take offense. At least, as far as I can find.

Hurt feelings are only flesh wounds. If we allow them to become anything else, we jeopardize our internal peace and only prove our lack of love for God’s Law.

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