I met her one day when she came to help out at a rotating homeless shelter I was coordinating at my church. She had volunteered to spend the night with our guests, even though she attended another church.
It wasn't five minutes before she showed me her arms. Arms wrecked and ravaged, indented and disfigured. From injecting heroin. For years.
She told me a brief tale of her journey through her own homelessness, drug abuse and prostitution, for forty something years, all the while holding out those arms and smiling.
She wanted me to know just what Jesus did for her. She said that.
"Look what Jesus did for me!!"
I grew to know and love this woman over the next few years. We laughed together, cried together, did church and Bible study together. I have NEVER EVER met another human being who loves Jesus more, who trusts Jesus more, or who fleshes out Jesus' command to be like little children in our faith, more than this precious daughter of God.
She will never, ever, be able to hide those scars. And you know what?
She never wants to. They are a minute by minute, heck! Second by second,
reminder of what Jesus did for her.
She's not ashamed of those scars or what they represent. Because, you see, they don't ever allow her to forget where she came from. They don't ever allow her to forget what Jesus brought her through. They don't ever allow her to think more highly of herself than she ought. But oh! Think highly of her Jesus! You betcha!
You and I may not have visible scars. But you and I have been somewhere. We've been through some things. We have a past. So why do we act like we never did? Why do we act like our only life is the life we've lived after Jesus. Why, oh why, do we not ever let anyone see our scars; the visible manifestations of where the Lord has delivered us from? We never tell our story. We never testify, saying, "Look what Jesus did for me?"
Yes, the past is behind us, but it doesn't mean it never happened. It's a part of who we are. It's a place we've been. Our wounds can be healed, but that doesn't mean we were never wounded in the first place. Our sins can be forgiven, but that doesn't mean we never sinned.
I've grown intolerant of the bright and shiny people lately. Those who forget they ever had a past. Those who want everyone to believe they've always been this holy. I can't even teach them anymore, if I'm being honest. They have ears but don't hear. Eyes but don't see, and hearts that receive nothing. Hiding in their circles with those who are just like them. There's no power in that. There's only judgement.
The very minute you forget where you came from, and what Jesus has delivered you from, is the very moment that you cross over into judgement of anyone who isn't living the way you think they should. And judgement, friend, has never contributed to helping a lost sinner find their way to Jesus.
It only pushes them away.
No wonder Jesus was the most comfortable hanging out with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners. He had no tolerance for judgmental Pharisees. And the sinners flocked to Him. The self righteous made Him sick.
I want to hang out again with the broken, the smelly, the dirty, the lost sheep who desperately need a Savior. I've always been so comfortable there. Comfortable among the ones the bright and shiny run away from. I won't have one iota of effect, if I carry my bucket of judgement to them. But if I come with love and a testimony of where my Jesus has brought me from, I believe they'll listen. I believe they will get a taste and see the goodness of the Lord and be encouraged that what He did for me, He'll do for them. I'll show them my scars. I'll tell them how much I love Him because,
"She who has been forgiven much, loves much!"
Loves Him. Loves others. Overcomes by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
Oh, Jesus! Heal my wounds, but leave the scars. Let them be a testimony to your amazing grace and forgiveness and deliverance. Use every last bit of who I used to be, to bring you glory for where you've brought me from. May I never forget. Ever. Send me to the lost, the broken, the ones this world has discarded like trash, and make me bold and unashamed to share my testimony, show my scars, and lead someone straight to You.
In Jesus mighty Name, I pray.