As I think about the souls that have been scarred by sin I am reminded of a battlefield littered with the dead and wounded. However, in this case, it is family members and loved ones that have been scarred by the sins of others.

Before coming to Christ, I remember seeing a young man in a local bar with a long scar on his face. Wondering how it got there, I assumed it was in a violent encounter where a razor or a blade was slashed across his face. That young man will have to live with that scar the rest of his life unless plastic surgery is performed.

There are many knives of sin slashing away at souls. An example of this is found in Galatians 5:19-21; “Now the works of the flesh are evident which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery (drug abuse), hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness ( an act of the will; not a disease), revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” As you look through this list of sins you will see that there are many which can be wielded like a knife; not only at others but at one’s self as well. The consequence of the previous actions is the scarring of so many; emotionally and physically.

It is the work of pastoral counselling to identify these scars inflicted on souls and offer biblical solutions. Just think of those who are harboring anger toward another and scarring them with abusive words, bitterness, resentment and even rage in some circumstances. One can only imagine the emotional depths of the scars suffered by the victims. Having been hurt themselves, the victim will often reciprocate with anger, thus scarring the one who originally hurt them. The only answer to this scarring is the balm of forgiveness. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 By the way, do not allow one to use forgiveness as a tool to manipulate without taking into account legitimate corrective measures to change one’s behavior.

Then there are the self-inflicted scars of the soul as a result of addiction with an inordinate lust for drugs, alcohol, etc. The activity may initially give a sense of relief by a counterfeit spiritual euphoria, an escape from reality, and an escape from pain (physical and emotional). But, it ends up in scarring the soul with guilt, shame, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, and self-condemnation. Sorcery (Gal. 5:20 – the enchantment for drugs) is especially devastating because it also spews out anger, lies, deception and rage on those family members whose souls are already scarred. This creates an atmosphere of spiritual darkness causing all kinds of confusion. “For if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above but is earthly, sensual, demonic.” James 3:14-15

Truly those family members who have experienced the heartache of dealing with the addict would recall Solomon’s word in Ecclesiastes 9:3; “…full of evil and madness is in their hearts…” I cannot help thinking of Dorian Grey, the sensualist in the fictional story, “The Picture of Dorian Grey”. He dealt with his guilt by the use of drugs; for it was said of him; “that the sin he had done once, with loathing, he would do many times, and with joy. He had often tried it and would try it again. There were dens where one could buy oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new.”

Maybe you have scarred your soul with sin of your own doing. Let me just say this is a spiritual war. Addiction is NOT a disease. It is the bondage of self-indulgence. It must be dealt with at the cross with brokenness, humility, and true repentance. Maybe you have scarred the souls of loved ones. You need to acknowledge your wrong-doing to them, ask them for forgiveness, and make a drastic change in your life and follow Jesus. Make Him your first love. For we remember the nail-scarred hands of One who sacrificed Himself at the cross for us in order that our souls might be relieved of scars. Come to Jesus, repent of your sins, “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed! John 8:36