To live is to love. Love is formed in relationships. We cannot love by ourselves. We love someone and are loved by someone. We do not love by ourselves, but together with others. There is nothing better than love. Love gives joy. Love helps us to discover the reason to live. Love provides a lot of energy. However, as much as love is good, it gives pain. To love is to exchange pain. To love is to exchange wounds. Being wounded is painful. Wounds received from loving others leaves marks on our hearts. When we are wounded from love, loving becomes scary. We begin to avoid people because of the fear of being hurt again. So we are tempted to give up loving. We try to give up loving even though the problem lies in people, not in love.
Both joy and pain are contained in love. If we give up loving because we do not like the pain of love, then we are also giving up the joy of love. We have a need to understand love more deeply. To share mature love is not an easy thing. Immature love is selfish and self-centered. In contrast, mature love is sacrificial and considers others more highly. Mature love understands that wounding each other is part of loving. Mature love embraces conflict, tears, pain, and wounds that are experienced in the process of entering into intimate love. Mature love grows through pain. No one likes to be wounded. I also don’t like being wounded. However, there is an amazing secret hidden in the wound. The secret is that God uses our wounds to accomplish amazing things.
We must understand the negative side of wounds as well as the positive side. When a wound is not treated well, it could become infected and could create pus that stinks. If the infection becomes worse, we could even be at a situation where we have to amputate a part of our body. Therefore, a wound must be treated well. When a wound is not treated well, it leaves a scar. On the other hand, a disguised blessing is hidden in the wound. When a wound is treated well, it brings an amazing blessing to us. Just as we know, pearls are the products of pain. When other materials get inside the oyster’s shell and irritates it, the oyster begins to cover the irritating object in order to protect its soft body that turns into a pearl. A pearl is a healed wound. A pearl cannot exist without a wound. The size of a wound determines the size of the pearl. If the oyster rejects to embrace the wound, then it will not be able to discover the gift of a beautiful pearl that is made by the wound. The pearl is embraced by the result of embracing the wound. A wound is an instrument of God’s grace that creates a pearl.
When we are wounded, the wound could become either poisonous or pearl-like depending on how we perceive the wound and how we respond to the wound. When we gaze on the wound positively and interpret the wound with biblical perspective, the wound becomes a blessing to us. When we respond with thankfulness and embrace the wound with gratitude, then our wound will turn into a pearl. Jesus was wounded at the cross. Roman soldiers nailed Jesus’ two hands and feet. One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, and blood and water came out of the wound. The blood that came out of Jesus’ wound became precious blood that forgives the sins of all humanity. The water that came out of Jesus’ wound was the living water that came out abundantly from the rock in the desert. Through Jesus’ wound, we are able to enjoy the grace of the precious blood and the grace of the living water that gushes out to make us live eternally.
Jesus’ wound is the glory of Jesus. If there is no wound, then there is no glory. If there is no cross, then there is no resurrection. What came out of Jesus’ wound wasn’t poison but precious blood and living water. When our wounds are treated well, our wounds become an instrument of healing others’ wounds. Our wounds become the medicine that heal other people’s wounds. The stories that inspire people are the stories of overcoming wounds. The drama that touches people’s hearts is the drama of love that does not give up in the midst of wounds, pain, and the suffering of conflicts. The way to treat our wounds well is to bring our wounds before the cross of Jesus. It is not to be bitter because of the wound but to be thankful even for the wound. Just as Jesus did, it is to forgive those who have wounded us. Even more, it is to forgive and to bless them. That is when we will experience our wounds being healed. And that is when we will experience our wounds turning into a precious pearl. May you experience the blessing of your wounds becoming glorious through God’s grace.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.