Life has a way of rewarding us with the marks of battle. We call them scars. They mark the place where we fell, got hit, broke something of otherwise allowed our body to pay the price for our ignorance or someone else’s. Some scars we wear proudly. Others we hide in shame, for they tell of events and behaviors we would rather not acknowledge.
On both of my hands and arms I wear the scars given to me by my two male dogs. They do not love one another very much, and one day found a way to have a rather violent discussion about male dominance. I know better than to get in the middle of a dog fight, but I did. I knew I would lose, but I chose to sacrifice my arms rather than one of their lives. Some believe it was a bad choice. But I wear those scars without malice or regret. They live on to love us and my wounds healed.
There is a way to measure scars. They can fall into two groups. First are the scars given to me by others or myself that I did not want and which I would like to have avoided. The second group are different, far different. They are the scars that I choose, because of love for the one who gave them to me.
The pain of childbirth, the scars worn by parents of children gone astray, and the pain one accepts willingly for a cause that is greater than the pain. This is the pain of Jesus going to the cross for us. It is the pain suffered by the soldier or the police officer who willingly goes into battle knowing the risks they take. It is also the pain that some take to see healing in others. It is something that they are not responsible to do, but something they chose to do. It is shown in the scars of injury not only inflicted but willingly accepted.
1 Peter 4:13 – but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
Pastors understand this phenomenon. So do parents and often husbands and wives. There are those occasions when the redemption of someone else is worth suffering with them or even for them. This is love.