Festering Wounds

It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone. – Rose Kennedy

Rose Kennedy was born in 1890 as Rose Fitzgerald, daughter of a prominent Irish Catholic businessman and future mayor of Boston, John Francis Fitzgerald. She died in 1995 at the age of 104, having become the mother of perhaps one of the most famous families in America and living through more pain and loss than anyone should be expected to endure.

She married Joseph Kennedy in 1914 and had nine children, the most famous of whom went on to become President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. We all know what happened to him but as if that wasn’t enough Rose Kennedy would outlive both her husband and 4 of her children. Two of her boys were assassinated, (John and Robert) one was killed while fighting during WWII (Joe Jr.) and a daughter died in a plane crash over France in 1948 (Kathleen). Tragedy followed Rose Kennedy throughout her life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about healing lately, primarily the emotional healing that is a required part of all of our stories. We’ve all experienced trauma in one form or another. Maybe not as dramatic as Mrs. Kennedy but in some way I am sure we can all relate. We live in a broken world and as a result we have all been wounded.


The question is; what happens when we don’t get time to heal? What happens when a fresh wound is continually poked and prodded with new injuries and new pain? Infectious disease experts tell us that a wound that is not allowed to heal soon becomes infected with bacteria and other foreign agents that are never supposed to enter our bodies. We are not designed to have these things in there and the result is poisonous to us.

The end result of a wound that never heals is called Gangrene. The flesh dies and if the infection is allowed to spread, so does the host body.

Rose Kennedy said that despite her loss she was somehow able to form scar tissue on her wounds and move on. But the pain never really went away. Tragically some people never get that far. They never get the chance to create enough distance between their losses to prevent their wounds from festering. These people go through life with gaping holes all over their bodies and every injury brings back the pain and suffering of everything previous.

Pain happens. I honestly don’t have anything to say to people who have festering wounds. I’m always afraid that no matter what I say I will not be able to help them heal and maybe even be the cause of more pain and suffering. But as I’ve reflected on this process over the past week one thing has kept coming back to me.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. [Isaiah 53:5]

If there is anyone who understands the pain of a festering wound its Jesus. He was beaten nearly to death and then crucified. Centuries prior to that event the prophet Isaiah gave us this powerful image of a suffering servant, one who would take on the pain of the world, my pain, your pain, and the pain we have inflicted both on ourselves and on others, and offer us healing.

If you have festering wounds, don’t be afraid to show them to Jesus. That’s what he’s there for. Show them to his people too. They can help you find bandages and begin the long healing process. I’m not saying your wounds won’t still hurt. And I’m not saying you won’t get injured again. But at least we can start to close the gaping holes in our bodies and prevent infections from killing us all.

Please for your own sake, don’t hide your festering wounds.


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