I have had two surgeries in my life: a cyst on my throat and my appendix were both removed. In each case the doctors were amazed that my incisions healed in just a couple of days. It turned out that I have a rare disorder that causes me to heal backwards.
Normally, when you get a cut, new cells begin to fill in the gap and build up until new skin forms, but my body forms new skin and then cells start to build down into the wound: in other words, normal people heal from the inside out; I heal from the outside in.
This is great with minor cuts and bruises. They’re gone within a day. But with a deeper wound like surgery, the damaged tissue, sealed with new skin, begins to fester with infection. Both of my surgeries ended with months-long hospital stays, where the wounds were painfully held open to let them heal normally, so the skin would close up last instead of first.
A lot of folks tend to have this skewed healing process when it comes to being emotionally hurt too. And it’s great for when someone arbitrarily hurts their feelings. They can quickly get over it. But for those deep emotional wounds, it’s not so good.
They put on a good face, but inside the wounds are festering.
They are trying to heal from the outside in. And though these wounds may be emotional, they can cause physical issues. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A tranquil heart is life to the body, But passion is rottenness to the bones.” This is why God stresses forgiveness in our lives.
Our bodies and souls were never designed to be offended, much less to hold on to that offense.
Our creator invites us to “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, so that we may be sons of our Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44-45) In this way as children of God, we are conformed to the image of God, and although the transformation may never be complete this side of eternity, forgiveness can bring us one step closer to what we’re designed for: loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength.
So, don’t put on a good face when it comes to forgiveness. Love your neighbor like you love yourself. Forgive from the inside out. And pray sincerely for those who hurt you that God would forgive them too. This is how the healing process is supposed to work; anything else will lead to months, maybe years, of pain.
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9)