Dirty Gauze and Sticky Tape: Healing
By Kevin Nuber
He wore it
like a badge of honor. Medals for valor and bravery in
the face of battle couldn’t hold more significance
for a 7-year old. He had, after all, vanquished some foe
or performed some death-defying act of fearlessness while
in his outside playtime world. Unfortunately, with all this bravado came the inevitable skinned knee and shin.
My youngest son, Curt, sat before me on the edge of the
bathroom sink as I cleaned the soiled wound. “Blood
... real blood!” His deep, dark brown eyes sparkled
through the dirt and grime on his face, showing his childish
delight at the sight of the red fluid. His momentary winces
of discomfort gave way to wide-eyed smiles that revealed
the significance of this event.
“Cool!” his satisfied expression said.
Through his pain, his pride swelled. Sure, he was hurting
-- but it felt good! In his mind, this moment was really
I was preparing to send him on his way after a thorough
cleaning when he suddenly stopped and realized that daddy
had not given him his full reward. With a trembling lip,
he reminded me that he needed a bandage –- a recognition
of his conflict, a reminder of his conquest, and a centerpiece
of conversation for all of his friends.
The scrape on his knee and shin was several scratches
that ran in an odd three-inch lengthwise pattern from
his knee toward his foot. The inch-wide sterile strips
we normally used for “ow-ies” would not easily
cover this wound. After rifling through the bathroom cabinets
for larger strips, I came across two four-inch square
gauze pads in their waxpaper-like protective wrappings.
“Too big,” I thought. This would certainly
be too much bandage for such a minor wound. Yet there
were no other sterile strips to be used.
After a brief moment of indecision over which kind of
bandage to use, I finally squeezed some antibiotic ointment
on the square of gauze and pressed it to his leg. I cut
two generous strips of white medical sticky tape and wrapped
them around the gauze and the boy’s leg at the top
and bottom of the square.
Finally! Now he was able to relax and enjoy the notoriety
this badge of honor would soon become. After returning
to the yard, he was already walking straighter and taller
than he ever had before. Confidence and pride filled his
Two days later, after avoiding a thorough bathing for
long enough, it was time for me to remove the now dirty
gauze square and the sticky tape that had faithfully held
the gauze in place. As the bath water began to fill, I
sat Curt down and began to carefully peel off the bandage.
On the outside, the gauze reflected the grime of two days
of school playgrounds and evening playtimes. On the inside
of the bandage, two pink dots were the only reminders
of the blood that flowed days before. Even the wound was
now a light pink discoloration on the boy’s leg.
After a cleansing bath, even that reminder would soon
I stood up in the bathroom and chuckled to myself at how
filthy the bandage had become, and I remembered all the
fuss made to dress the wound. It was at that moment that
I sensed God’s feedback on my musings, “That’s
how My people treat the wounds of their hearts.”
At that moment, I began to catch a small glimpse of God’s
perspective on those minor hurts, small offenses and relational
breakdowns among His children. I could sense His frustration
when His people treat minor hurts, scrapes and bruises
like major, gaping mortal wounds.
We all have felt justified in demanding the gauze and
sticky tape for our minor soulish scratches. After days
of parading around our “badges of honor”,
we suddenly realize how dirty our self-righteousness has
become. To bathe in God’s forgiveness and cleansing,
our dirty gauze must be removed.
In a split-second, I perceived a healing strategy from
God’s Word for those who have endured wounds of
the soul: keep a grace perspective! Wounds of the soul are just
as real as wounds of the body. Lies, deceit, slander,
selfishness, verbal and emotional abuse, misunderstanding
-- regardless of the cause, these wounds cut deep and
have a profound and lasting effect on the believer.
I am reasonably sure that you have been the target of
cruelty and mean-spiritedness, just as I have been. The
first step to victory and healing of soulish wounds is
to realize that Jesus is the Healer of your emotional
wounds, just as He clearly is the Healer of our bodies.
His healing virtue is only appropriated by grace through
faith, so our only “action,” when we have
been wounded, is to believe -- to accept His healing grace
“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered
them from their destructions” (Psalm 107:20).
Nothing is happening to you that is personal or unique:
it’s occurring in all the rest of the Body of Christ
as well (I Peter 5:9).
Keep it accountable! A key to healing lies in the sharing
of the need -- the widening of the circle of trust. “Is
anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of
the church ... confess your trespasses to one another,
and pray for one another that you may be healed”
Don’t stifle or trivialize hurts or emotional wounds.
Share them with a trusted friend or minister, and ask
for this prayer of healing promised to the local church.
By verbalizing hurts, we help keep the healthiest perspective
on life issues.
Keep pressing into praise until joy wins out! The power
and majesty of praise and worship helps to diminish the
hurt and magnify the Healer! A former pastor of mine said,
“Worship is establishing the relative positions
between God and man.” Therefore, the act of “trading
our sorrows” helps to release the “oil of
joy for gladness.” “A merry heart makes a
cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit
is wounded” (Proverbs 15:13).
By applying these truths to our prayer life, we can overcome
hurts and soulish wounds. Just like Curt found his wounds
had healed, when we remove the dirty gauze and sticky
tape from our emotional hurts, and then cleanse the wounded
area, we are able to relish the healing grace of Jesus
Christ. May God give you boldness to obtain His promised
(C) 2001 Kevin Nuber
Have you experienced rejection or emotional pain from others in the
Body of Christ? Have you covered it up, or are you allowing God to bring
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Kevin Nuber is a former local church pastor. He serves in administration and as a worship leader of a local congregation. He also works with churches and ministries developing leadership training materials.
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