Have you ever had that wound that just would not heal? I once had a cut on my thumb that just would not totally heal. It would start to get better, then I wound hit it on something and the scab would come off. It would start bleeding and the whole process would start over again. I feel like it went on for weeks but it may have been shorter. I am proficient in being awful for remembering time frames. I can tell you for certain it was longer than average because I can remember a single cut. Band-Aids would not protect it for some reason. It got to a point where it started to get the red irritating ring around it. The wound began to be infected. It was time to break out the Neosporin. Why I did not use it in the first place, I do not know. Sure enough, as the Neosporin started working, the small infection started going away. A simple step that probably would have saved me days or weeks of pain and irritation, provided relief in a very short time.
Now have you ever experienced an injured heart? I am not referencing a heart attack or physical condition. I am talking about that time when someone hurt you. It could have been a parent, a sibling, or a friend. In those times, when those words are said or actions are taken, infections can set in quickly. Our relationships can be just like that infection. The initial injury happens and we do not think much of it. Life goes on and it festers. We do not feel it much, it is just an irritation. Life moves on and we think we forget about it, or maybe not. Maybe it stays there and that nerve keeps getting hit over and over again. At some point, the infection starts to grow and gets worse. Then, before we know it is toxic. It consumes us in a way we could never have imagined. We begin to react in ways that we never would have imagined and say things we never thought we would say.
It does not have to be that way. Proverbs chapter 4 instructs us to guard our hearts: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways” (Proverbs 4:23-26 NIV).
In reading these words, we see how to prevent that infection from festering and also how to keep ourselves from injuring those around us. Jeremiah chapter 17 tells us that our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful. When we guard and protect our heart, when we fix our gaze on the Lord, past injuries will start to heal. Future injuries, while they still may sting will be easier to handle. We can be especially hard on our families in both attacking and healing. When those who we should be able to trust strike out at us, that hurt and pain can be immense. Looking to and leaning on the Lord is the most effective antibiotic we can use to begin the healing process and preventing the toxicity from developing.