Thursday, August 25, 2016
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I got a "boo-boo." It happened when we were in the middle of major outreaches on Indian reservations with our On Eagles' Wings team of young Native Americans. It was just a scrape on my wrist. I don't even know how it happened. It seemed like no big deal at the time. And it might have been no big deal if I had thought to clean it at the time, but I barely knew that it happened. I woke up two days later to see red all around the wound and red lines starting up my arm. Is that bad? Yeah. I offered myself a brief medical opinion – "uh-oh." Our team nurse seemed pretty concerned about it as she carefully cleansed it and treated it. She recommended some antibiotic to keep it from getting into my veins. Several days of twice-a-day treatment and some antibiotic did the trick. I hate to think what would have happened if I'd let it go any longer.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Wound Not Treated."
A wound not treated properly and quickly can become infected. That infection can eventually spread poison throughout your whole body. And it doesn't have to be a physical wound. Someone's listening today who has an untreated emotional wound or spiritual wound – possibly from someone you love or someone you trust or who means a lot to you. You've been wounded, and like me with that little wound on my wrist, an infection is developing. If you let it go, you're letting it grow. The longer you leave that wound untreated, the farther and deeper the poison from it is going to spread.
That's why our word for today from the Word of God says, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." That's Hebrews 12:15. A wound untreated often turns into anger, bitterness, resentment and alienation because it wasn't taken care of properly when it was smaller. That's why you can't wait any longer to do whatever you have to do to deal with your wound.
The Bible gives us some clear guidelines for treating wounds between people. First, it commands us to treat the wound directly. Jesus addresses two scenarios of people hurting people. In Matthew 5:23-24, He talks about when you have wounded someone else: "If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."
In other words, go straight to the one you've hurt and make it right. God says, "Don't come to me until you've gone to them." Based on that, do you have any unfinished business here? Then, in Matthew 18, Jesus talks about when you've been wounded by someone else. "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault just between the two of you." Don't go spreading the poison to anyone else. Go straight to – and only to – the one who hurt you.
God also tells us to treat a wound immediately. "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold" (Ephesians 4:26, 27). Every day you let your feelings fester, the infection will grow and Satan will capture a beachhead in your soul. God's plan for treating a personal wound also includes treating it grace-fully – that's with the same kind of grace that Jesus extended to you. In the words of Colossians 3:13, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
Maybe it's your husband who's wounded you or your wife, a parent, or a child. It could be a Christian leader, a fellow believer, a coworker, a friend. And you've let that wound go untended. The infection is spreading. Left untreated longer, it may spread so far that it could destroy a marriage, a family, a church, a ministry, and even the reputation of Jesus to the people who are watching it all happen. You just can't let it go any longer. It's going to do more damage than you'll ever be able to heal.