Preach from scars not wounds

So far in 2015 there have been 353 mass shootings in the United States (see Mass Shooting Tracker). That about 1.05 mass shootings per day. 

This Sunday, many preachers are going to feel compelled to address the shootings this past week in California and Georgia. Many directly addressed the shootings in Paris a few weeks ago. And, assuming this mass shooting thing is not going away, many more preachers may feel compelled to address future tragedies.

If there is one thing that I have learned as a preacher and communicator of the Gospel it is the value and necessity to preach from our scars and not wounds. 

Wounds are open and still healing. They are fresh and raw. They may still be bleeding and often put a person in a situation where they may be in shock or irrational. It is not the time to preach the message of Christ because you, as the preacher, are not in a good place to receive the Holy Spirit. The pain of the wound can be so overpowering that the preacher's own voice becomes the dominate voice in the sermon rather than the voice of the Holy Spirit. If you are a preacher and you are preaching from your wounds, you may be doing more harm than Good. 

But more than that, feeling like we need to preach from the raw wounds also may be an expression of a lack of faith. Lack of faith that there will be more or better time to address these hurts. When Jesus was on the cross and wounded, he did not at that time talk about the resurrection or the power of the work of God. He cried out. He bled. He died. He did not teach or proclaim. He trusted that there would be a more and a better time to address the injustices of the moment. 

Which is why, in part, when Christ appeared to the disciples he showed them his scars. He was able then to address the problems and the pain of the world, but only after the bleeding stopped. This was the more and better time to teach the disciples about how to live in light of death and resurrection. 

Preaching from our scars and not our wounds is not limited to preachers but all interpersonal relationships. When you find yourself wounded it is very difficult to help usher in reconciliation. Tend to the wounds and when there is a scar that protects the wound, then speak to the hurt.