The Significance of Scars

July 18, 2023 · by Regina Felty

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
(Kahlil Gibran)

The speaker told the story of a mother holding her young daughter in her arms as they talked. The mother’s face was horribly scarred from burns that twisted her skin into fibrous ropes winding down her face and neck.

The small girl hesitantly reached up to touch her mother’s cheek.

“Mommy, the kids at school make fun of you. I hear them whisper that you look like a monster,” she said sadly. “I get embarrassed when you come to my school. Mommy, why don’t you look like other mommies?”

The mother looked lovingly at her precious daughter and told her the story of the fire that occurred one night when the little girl was just an infant. As the fire raced untamed through the house, the girl was trapped in her crib, surrounded by flames. The mother described how she ran through a wall of flames to save her baby girl—her own body shielding her daughter’s as she endured the intense heat and exposure to the flames. The inferno stripped her outward beauty and morphed her face and other exposed skin into a mass of gnarls and painful scars.

A heavy silence settled over the audience as the speaker shared how the young girl reached up and gently cupped her mother’s face in her hands. “Oh, Mommy, I didn’t know,” she cried. “You sacrificed yourself for me.” Caressing the scars on her mother’s face, she told her, “I think you are the most beautiful mommy in the world.”

When we think about physical and emotional scars, we’re constantly striving for ways to cover, camouflage, or eradicate them. They are persistent reminders of painful experiences inflicted on us or ones we brought on ourselves. Scars rarely result from something pleasant or something we even want to remember. 

Nonetheless, they remain, regardless of our efforts to remove them.

Bearing the marks of life.

When a person turns away from a lifetime of poor choices to do what’s right, this doesn’t mean that past mistakes dissolve into a cloud of blissful forgetfulness. But that choice does create a slate wiped clean for future hopes—an unsoiled page in the Diary of Life. When someone breaks free from drugs, depression, or the agony of emotional abuse, they may incorrectly assume that deliverance also implies that the scars from those experiences will be eradicated as well.

They blink in frustration that the tracks from sin are still on their flesh. They’re sorrowful when they see the faint scar from self-harm that remains imprinted on their skin. 

Your spirit sighs when a careless person brings up your tainted past. To this day, it still drives you to your knees.

“Why?” you ask. “I have been set free—reborn.”

But, with scars.

Everything is new . . . but the scars remain. We are disheartened by the attempts to cover them so that we don’t identify with who we WERE instead of who we are now.

Is it possible that scars remind us of the places we never want to go again? To keep us from forgetting and turning back? Do we view them as chains we can’t break free from? Or are they companions to reassure us that we’ve overcome and now bear the banners of triumph?

Your scars may be marks of encouragement to others who face the same demons you’ve faced—and conquered.

“Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing.”
(Linda Hogan)

When Jesus died on the cross, he seized the keys of death and hell from Satan and rose to life again on the third day. Surely, he would’ve risen from this victory over death with a fully healed body? Not so. Jesus still bore the scars of his tortuous death.

What purpose could this serve?

There was one man whose faith hung on the NEED to see those scars (John 20:25-29). Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, declared that he wouldn’t believe Jesus had risen from the dead unless he could physically touch his scars. When Jesus appears to Thomas and allows him to touch the scars on his hands and side, Thomas instantly believes, and his faith is strengthened.

How we bear our scars matters.

Do we lower our heads in shame and defeat when emotional scars weigh heavily on our hearts? Do we cringe and turn away when we see our scars in the mirror? Or could we, somehow, raise our heads with dignity because we’re survivors? 

Our scars qualify us to help others face their own rebirth. That means being transparent with our past sufferings and allowing them to prove that there IS life after scars.

Scars cannot be eradicated, ignored, or wished away. You are NOT inferior because you bear their imprints. Your scars, carved from pain and undesirable experiences, will always be an intimate part of who you are, whether you choose to embrace them or not.

Your scars have purpose—and significance.



Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/w...

Regina Felty

About Regina Felty

REGINA FELTY attends Faith Tabernacle in Tucson, Arizona. She is a published author who recently released her second fiction novel. Her free time is spent devouring books, spending time with her husband, Andrew, and trying to keep up with her rambunctious rat terrier.
Besides dividing her time between being an author and her career as an American Sign Language Educational Interpreter, Regina also manages her personal blog, It’s a Felty Thing, and has a special place in her heart for troubled youth. Check out her website and find her on Instagram: 

Website: www.rlfelty.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/reginafelty