Ifyou've ever been on one of those wretched online dating websites and, againstyour better judgment, created an "Online Profile" for said website,you've seen the question I hate: "What do people first notice about you?"
Beingas how none of us are people other than ourselves, I don't know how anyonepurports to answer this question with any degree of honesty. However, I knowwhat I assume I should write in that box, if I'm attempting to think like otherpeople.
Ibore so much shame at these self-imposed marks in the aftermath of theirarrival. I spent many summers indoors and in long sleeves. It was a kind of"coming out" the first time I decided not to cover up my scars. Inthe process I lost friends, was stopped and inundated with questions from strangersin places I'd never even been, and I was the subject of manywhispered judgments and shunning. The way people stared:With pity, they looked at my scars, through me, and kept their distance, likethey might catch my sadness. Yet, was I supposed to live the restof my life as some social-pariah simply because my struggles were visible?Hadn't I overcome?
I refused to believe that what I'd been through was all I would everbe - that scars were that thick. I realized people might be, butthat didn't mean I had to accept their ignorance. Searching for truth to standon, I turned to Galatians 6:17, where Paul talks about scars, "From nowon, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks ofJesus." Jesus' marks were not only a part of His story, they were Hisstory: The reason He came to the world in the first place. If Jesus was neverbeaten, never cut, never scarred then none of us would know hope. Yet, we do.All those who trust Christ bare the marks of Jesus; we bare the story He wrotefor us. Our scars are the reason we are here. And just as Romans 8:1 states,"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in ChristJesus." We are not condemned - we are created.
Thisis the truth I must walk in, as you must, to face the world at large. Yourscars may be visible for everyone, or they may be neatly tucked away in therecesses of your heart, protected by an iron will to never tell anyone aboutthem. I challenge you: Do not hide! We have a story to tell: An inspired, divinelywritten story that was never meant for us alone: Our stories need to get outso others can find Hope.