I've been reading a book about healing and, in it, the author points out something pretty interesting. Usually when we try to go about healing ourselves, we think that we need to erase the painful things that have happened to us - that we will truly feel restoration once we have no marks on us any longer. But wounds that are left untreated or covered, as many of us tend to do, don't heal as they should.
I think that the self-help industry jumps on this bandwagon and makes their billions off of it. "Just follow these few simple steps and your past will be forgotten completely."
But what if we're not meant to forget all together? What if our pasts, as painful as they may be, are supposed to be with us always? I'm not saying there isn't hope for restoration - of course there is. But when Jesus came back and appeared to Thomas, He appeared with the scars on His hands and feet. John 27 shows Jesus inviting Thomas to see His hands and feet and even takes Thomas' hand and puts it to His side where He was pierced. Jesus is in His glorified body, yet the scars are still visible.
I think our scars are supposed to be visible too. Really, it is through our scars that we are able to minister to others in empathy. When we have lost a loved one or had someone wrong us in such a horrible way - we can find restoration in Christ so those scars don't hurt anymore. But then, we can take ourselves, scars and all, and minister to others. We can take others' hands and say, "See me. Hear me. I care about you and I can fully understand what you are going through."
I don't understand why so many people are into erasing their past hurts when we can use them in such a way to bring glory to God. In reality, it is usually the hard times that mold us into the people we are - they are part of our identity. And for us to be able to take them once they are healed and give love and encouragement to someone else - what a gift.