It's Just a Flesh Wound
By Linda Michaels
Years ago, a friend was telling me about a scene from the movie, Monty Python and The Holy Grail. A character has one arm cut off and then the other, but keeps saying things like, “It’s just a flesh wound! No problem!”
Even though I didn’t see the movie myself, I’m often reminded of that scene when I’m being honest about my personal struggles with unforgiveness.
As a passionate follower of Christ, I know the dangers of unforgiveness. Matthew 18:21-35 records the parable about a man who had a great debt forgiven, only to fail to forgive someone else. His punishment is harsh.
I know I am required to forgive when someone hurts me. My problem is, I often don’t want to admit that I have been hurt.
Like the man in the movie, I say, “It’s just a flesh wound…really nothing!” I end up harboring bitterness and resentment way down deep in my heart, simply because I am unwilling to admit that I have been hurt.
I think the problem is, I don’t want to face the fact that once I choose to love someone, I am also giving them the power to hurt me. Such vulnerability is scary. To think that I can be wounded by criticism or rejection from someone I care about is sometimes a reality that I want to run from.
I want to be invincible to such hurts. The problem is, I’m not invincible. And no one who loves will ever be safe from harm. After all, it was Christ who loved like no one else and the result was unimaginable suffering.
So, we have to choose. The only way to be protected from hurt is to love no one. And that’s not a real choice. Being hurt will always be part of living in a fallen world.
I attend a church that uses liturgy as part of the worship service. Each week, we confess that we have “sinned in thought, word and deed, by what we have done and what we have left undone.”
Sometimes I need to make another confession – for
me a much harder one. “I confess that I have been sinned against.”
My pastor is faithful to remind us often of the scriptural teaching from Ephesians 4:26 warning us to not let the sun go down on our anger. I have let many suns set while failing to forgive, simply because I didn’t want to admit that I was hurt.
Ephesians 4:26 ends with the words, “…for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” It’s a sobering reminder of the results of harboring unforgiveness. A warning that I hope I can remember the next time I am hurt by someone I love.
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