Not only do I believe lies, but I often repeat them. I do so mindlessly, without thinking about what I am saying. Maybe you do too. Have you ever told your child, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” Is that true? Of course not. Words are awful, and can linger in destructive ways long after bones have mended. Whoever came up with the whole “sticks and stones” ditty was an idiot. Why do we repeat such things without thinking about it?
Recently I found myself saying, “Time heals all wounds.” And then I actually thought about what I had said. Tell that to a person permanently disfigured by fire. Tell that to an amputee. Just a minute’s thought reveals that people suffer all kinds of injuries that time will not heal. When you visit the burn ward it is easy to see that time does not, in fact, heal all wounds, but it’s harder to see damage within the heart or the psyche or the soul, isn’t it? And because it’s harder to see, it’s easier to believe the lie that time will heal it.
Pastors fall prey to this type of thinking when we implicitly or explicitly “sell” Jesus as a snake oil for the soul, suggesting that if only you have faith in Jesus, then everything that is injured within you will be made well. But just as Jesus won’t necessarily make an amputee’s leg grow back, so also faith in Jesus does not guarantee that every internal hurt will suddenly disappear.
Some spiritual, emotional, and psychological wounds are so severe that they will not be healed this side of Glory. Let’s not lie and tell people otherwise. Good, faithful, pious Christians suffer with mental illnesses, and will continue to do so until the day they die. Lovely Christians have experienced past traumas that still today wake them in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. Their faith in Jesus doesn’t magically fix it. Some wounds are so deep that they will wait until Glory until they are repaired, when the Savior in whom we have trusted makes all things new. God guarantees us that then—but not until then—He Himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and eternally heal every wound.
Time will not heal all wounds, but Jesus will, and it’s only a matter of time.