As a pastor, I often have people share deep and painful things with me.
They confess their sins.
They express the guilt they feel.
They describe the brokenness that surrounds them.
They explain the wounds they have experienced.
They describe the shame they feel as a result of all these things.
Too often, though, I notice that people—myself included—struggle to understand the difference between these pains. We might think of our woundedness as sinfulness. But in a basic sense, our woundedness is not the result of our sin. It’s the effect of others’ sin against us.
I think it’s helpful to think about these very basic categories.
Every one of us have, to varying degrees, been wounded by:
- our parents
- early life experiences
- the brokenness of the world
- a thousand other causes
We are victims of life in a broken, sinful world. This does not negate our own sinfulness or need of grace, but it recognizes that we don’t have to repent of our wounds, just our own personal sinning.
So what do we do with our wounds?
Grace for the Wounded
Like our sin, guilt, and shame, we bring our woundedness to the Father. We don’t come for forgiveness; we come for healing.
Look at this wonderful turn of phrase:
“Grace, expressed in [God’s] kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7) God’s grace is expressed in loving kindness.
We tend to forget that we have been made right (justified) with God, united to Christ, and raised to new life by the Spirit. And by forgetting these truths, we wonder if God is truly for us.
Have you ever experienced this? Perhaps you feel you are too wounded for God’s healing. Maybe you feel you even need to repent of your wounds. Or, perhaps you wonder why a loving, all-powerful God would allow you to be wounded in the first place.
But don’t forget God’s grace. You are not simply an accumulation of wounds. You are God’s child, on whom he has set his grace and kindness.
The Lord of Healing
God has expressed his healing grace to us in Christ. Jesus’s healing miracles were at the center of his earthly ministry:
Jesus healed the sick (Matt. 12:15, 14:13-14; Luke 4:40).
Jesus healed the blind (Matt. 12:22; Mark 10:46-52).
Jesus healed the disabled and paralyzed (Matt. 9:1-8; John 5:1-13).
Jesus healed those who were demon-possessed (Matt. 15:21-28; Mark 1:34; Luke 8:26-39).
Jesus healed by touch and at a distance (Matt. 8:13).
Jesus healed on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-14).
Jesus even raised the dead (Matt. 9:18-26; Luke 8:40-56; John 11:38-44).
All of these instances demonstrate God’s grace to us in Christ.
What Do You Want?
In one encounter, a blind man named Bartimaeus finds his way to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” (Mark 10:51)
This is an odd question for Jesus to ask a blind man. Of course, Bartimaeus wants to be healed—he’s blind! But Jesus asks him anyway. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus wants the blind man to verbalize his need—to bring it specifically and directly to the Great Physician.
Perhaps even now, Jesus is asking you the same question: What do you want me to do for you?
If you were in the presence of Christ, what would you ask for? What do you want?
Jesus seems to be affirming that you can bring absolutely anything—however big or small—to him. You can come to him in prayer; you can come to him for healing; you can come to him running and screaming and totally undignified. He simply wants you to come. He wants to express the kindness of God to you.
Healing Every Wound
Most of us aren’t blind, don’t have leprosy, and have never been possessed by a demon. So identifying with the healing passages of the New Testament can be difficult.
But the Scriptures are full of prayers for healing:
- You can find healing from your sin—disobedience of God’s law.
I said, “Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” (Psalm 41:4)
- You can find healing from your guilt—the effects of sin.
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners. (Isaiah 57:18)
- You can find healing from your brokenness—the effects of living in a broken world.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
- You can find healing from your woundedness—the effects of others’ sin against you.
Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. (Psalm 6:2)
- You can find healing from your shame—feeling unlovable as a result of guilt and woundedness.
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8)
What kind of healing do you seek? Remember the question of Jesus: “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)
Look to the Cross
How can you know this? Remember that there was One who was wounded on your behalf.
As 1 Peter 2:24 says,
Your wounds do not define you; Jesus’s wounds define you. Your sins were placed on Jesus on the Cross, so there can be no further need for punishment for you. In exchange, Jesus’s wounds bring you healing—his righteousness is given to you.
In other words, God’s grace at the Cross heals your wounds!
1See Chip Dodd, The Voice of the Heart: A Call to Full Living, for a helpful overview of emotions.
The Grace is Greater Journal is a 28 day journey to explore the depths of God’s grace. Study Ephesians 2 and apply grace through daily reflections, stories, and thoughtful activities. Pick up your Grace is Greater Study Journal and pursue a deeper understanding of God’s grace!
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