But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” – John 20: 25b, 27, NIV
“This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” – Acts 2:23, NIV
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. – Revelation 5:6a, NIV
Christ scars bear witness to his suffering on the Cross. They are not hidden by Christ as if He is ashamed of them. His scars are badges of His love shown to us.
They are beautiful.
And they continue to speak to us even today.
They speak to our own scars. And they can speak especially to those of us who have scars following the intimate betrayal known as adultery. His scars can teach us lessons in how to embrace our own and see them transformed from shame to beauty.
1. Even forgiven sin leaves a mark.
While surviving adultery may not leave physical marks, they certainly leave soul scars. Some things are unforgettable (e.g. the moment of discovery or confession). Forgiveness does not say you have to forget what happened or say it was less then horrific. Jesus did not forget that He died on a Cross nor minimize its horror. His scars are lasting memorials to the sins of the world (ours and adulterous spouses included). They teach us that we need not pretend we are without scars from surviving such sin.
Even forgiven sin leaves scars.
Christ’s scars demonstrate that.
2. Jesus did not hide his scars from his disciples or from us.
Death on the Cross was a shameful death for both Jew and Gentile (I Cor. 1:22-23). It would make sense to hide the signs of such a death. However, Jesus refuses to accept the shame. As Scripture says, he scorned its shame (see Heb 12:2). Furthermore, by showing his scars, Jesus made the statement that He survived and is triumphant.
This is a great example to remember about your own scars. The shame of adultery is not ours to bear as faithful spouses or family of faithful spouses. We need not cover them in silence as if we must bear the shame. The fact that you live after such an awful experience as discovering adultery is a testimony that you are a survivor. Thank God for that and do not feel like you have to hide the scars such experience brings. These can become badges of honor testifying to how God brought you through such an experience.
Jesus did not hide his scars. So, neither need you.
3. It is not unforgiving to talk about how we received our scars.
Peter was reporting fact on this famous Pentecost sermon. And he was speaking freshly after the event. He named what was done as wicked, and he named the action. Peter reported the truth. And God used his truth-telling to bring 3,000 people to repentance. Good things come from telling the truth. It is not unforgiving to be truthful when asked about our scars (e.g. divorced status).
Shame wins when we are silent. Hiding the scars says we are ashamed of what was done to us as if we deserved it. By showing our scars and telling our story, we testify to God’s faithfulness and our survival.
Only through showing the scars and sharing their story do we open ourselves to God transforming them into something beautiful.
Such are a few important lessons we can learn from Christ’s scars.