Little boys wear their bruises and cuts with a sense of honor. Each mark has a story and most will give the boy the opportunity to tell of an accident on his bicycle, a run-in with a fence, a fall that took the hide off of his knee while running for a touchdown, or a good “shiner” on his eye where he ran head on into another person’s head or fist (depending on whether it was gained through a bold play in sports or the resolution of a dispute).
Adults have bruises, cuts, and shiners, too. However, most of the time, they are not external. The course of doing business, rearing families, interactions with all kinds of people, and in the deep grief of saying “farewell to one that is greatly loved” … we sustain hurts that affect us in every zone of our emotional, relational, mental, and spiritual state.
Each of the “marks” we endure change us. Some people become more caring, tender, and compassionate. While others may withdraw and choose to cut themselves off from relationships to seek to avoid being hurt again. Still others can become hard and harsh lashing out at anyone that appears to disagree with them.
Scars and bruises can be “badges of honor” if we gained them seeking to fight for that which is right. For example, when a Godly person stands against the devasting evil of wrong doers, then the marks are reminders of the battle that set them apart as being diligent in the war against sin.
Larry Holmes the undisputed World Heavy Weight boxing champion from 1978 to 1983 was in his younger days a sparring partner of Mohammed Ali.
Some wouldn’t believe that the upcoming and not-so-famous (at that time) Holmes was indeed legendary Ali’s training partner when he raved about it in his neighborhood. “I had to pull out pictures of me with him to prove it” wrote Holmes in his biography. Finally, one day the “blessed moment” arrived, despite all the protective gear during the training sessions, one punch of Ali landed square on Holmes right eye giving him instantly the “Black eye” and what was Holmes’ reaction to it!!! Let’s hear it straight from Horse’s (Holmes sic) mouth “I wouldn’t put ice on it. I wouldn’t put dark glasses on. I went around telling people, ’Ali gave me this black eye.’ ”. Boy was he mighty proud about the fact that he bore on his body the mark that marked him as Ali’s training partner!!!
Ditto with Apostle Paul who said, “…I carry on my body the scars of the whippings and wounds from Jesus’ enemies that mark me as his slave.” (Gal 6:17-TLB). (Copied).
It was the “marks” that set our LORD apart. Thomas was reluctant to believe in the resurrection. He stated what it would take for him to believe…. Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later…. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:24-28).