Bandaids or Stitches?

An incident this week reminded me of the time that I was quickly getting pink ribbons measured and cut for my cheerleaders to wear before a game. I hadn't even cut two before jamming the scissors into my hand. Who does that?? Simple gauze and a Band-aid weren't taking care of the problem. I had to leave the game and go get stitches for the first time in my life!
I spoke to a lady this week whose pink ribbons are her identity and whose scissors are her marriage. Over five years of using the simple gauze of "pretending her life was perfect" has caused infection and scarring. Her marriage is on the rocks, her identity is marred beyond recognition, and she is exhausted from trying to stop the bleeding on her own.
It made sense for me to go to the clinic to get stitches. A few hours of waiting and several days of carefully avoiding overuse of my hand was worth it.Similarly, it makes sense to go to the body of Christ for healing of emotional, spiritual wounds.
James 5:16 says, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
As believers, we know that confession of sins is no longer necessary for salvation and approval before God. However, there is healing found in confessing to each other. The prayers of believers are powerful and effective! When we confess our sins, people can pray for us! We are not in this battle alone! Sharing our hurts, habits, and hangups allows us to find help and accountability. It would be ridiculous for me to have gone into that clinic and tell the doctor that nothing was wrong or to pull the stitches out early. So why do we hide from the healing powers that come from praying believers?
I remember the doctor carefully taking my hand, cleaning it, numbing the area he would be sewing and then ever so gently stitching me up. He gave me instructions to follow that would ensure complete healing. I have a little scar on my hand that reminds me of that time, but there is no more pain, and my hand has been restored to full usage.
When a brother or sister in Christ comes to the church for healing, be gentle, stitch carefully, and give wise counsel. It may take time, but full recovery is the goal. The doctor knew what I needed. I can't imagine that he'd get away with lecturing me on how to hold the scissors while avoiding my bleeding wound. Yet, we'll lecture a hurting member of our body about their particular issue while allowing their wound to go untouched.
It's time for healing. So whether you're the one hurting or the one healing, let's go get some stitches rather than trying to cover up deep wounds with small bandages! 
~Rebecca Phillips