When a Fresh Injury Knocks Off an Old Scab…

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.[1]

     My anger was visceral.

     A fresh injury had knocked off an old scab. My venomous reaction was stunning and disturbing.

     Distressed, I moaned to my husband. “I thought I’d totally forgiven!”

     Ron listened quietly and compassionately. When I’d calmed down, he assured me I had forgiven and encouraged me to walk through the process one more time.

     That scenario played out many years ago. I heeded Ron’s suggestion. I hope and believe the scab has healed fully and is now a scar.

This incident taught me important lessons about forgiveness:

  1. Deep wounds have deep roots, and the deeper the root, the longer the process of total forgiveness may take.
  2. God understands my capacity to heal from a deeply inflicted wound. The first step might be spiritual triage. God, in the way only God can do, may stop the bleeding and apply a temporary bandage. God knows when I’m emotionally and spiritually equipped to deal with another layer of pain.
  3. It’s critical I trudge through a process of forgiveness with each layer of revelation lest my wound become what the Bible calls a ‘bitter root.’
  4. Eventually, the scabbed-over area heals completely. The scab becomes a scar and a forever reminder of God’s grace and healing. My scar can serve to encourage another who is dealing with a similar wound.

Consider and Imagine:

  • If your heart and mind will permit, consider your deepest wound. What layers of healing have you experienced? What helped you recognize and forgive so a ‘bitter root’ would not develop?
  • Imagine complete healing from your deepest wound. How will the scar that remains serve to remind you of God’s healing grace and help others experience the same?


God of mercy and grace,

Thank you for the kindness you’ve shown me as I’ve dealt with deep wounds. Reveal to me residues of unforgiveness so no ‘bitter root’ grows in my soul. Help me exhibit to others the same grace you have shown me. Amen

May you experience God’s grace in your process of forgiveness and healing…

Sue Reeve

  1. Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV

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