Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Does Time Really Heal All Wounds?

Does time heal?  For some people it may indeed be true.  Some people swear by it.  

However, I believe that time heals nothing.  We learn to accept that which we cannot change.  

How long does it take to accept?  Six months, one year, three years?  

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was a Swiss Psychiatrist who wrote a very well known book in 1969, called "On Death and Dying." In the book she outlined five stages that people go through when they go through the process of death.  

Stage one:  Denial - Reality is hard to face and the first reaction is generally denial that this could actually be happening.  "There must be some mistake, doctors missed something."

Stage two:  Anger - Once denial can no longer be used as a defense, anger comes in, "why is this happening to me?  It's not fair.  How could God let this happen?"

Stage three:  Bargaining - There is still hope that somehow the individual can overcome this.  "Let me live God and I'll serve you forever."  

Stage four:  Depression - When the person eventually realizes that denial and bargaining is not going to work they begin to understand the certainty of death.  "I'm so sad, why do anything.  I'm going to die soon so what is the point?"

Stage five:  Acceptance - Individuals finally come to grips with their mortality.  "It's going to be okay.  I can't fight it so I might as well prepare for it.

Later Dr. Kubler Ross, through further research, expanded these five stages to include not just death, but also all traumas.  

The question that I would like for you, as you read this, to try and come to terms with is this:  "How long is it going to take between depression and acceptance?"  Six months, one year, three years, ten years?  

In order to heal anything we first have to understand it.  Healing and curing are two different things.  Curing is a medical term.  Healing is a spiritual term and it is an active process.  It is not a passive one.  As Americans, we do not always want to make the effort to get better, rather we just want to feel better now.  Feeling better is a passive process,via drugs, trying to block things out of our mind, refusing to talk about it, etc.  Getting better is an active process where we participate in the healing process.  If you are waiting for time to do its work, you are going to be in for a very long wait.  

When I was a little boy I would sometimes cut myself.  My mother would always give me a lecture first on why I should be more careful.  She then would take water and soap and clean the wound carefully.  She would put some type of salve on it and then apply a band aid.  

What would happen if she didn't clean the wound?  It might taken longer, could cause an infection, but it would eventually close and likely leave a scar. 

When we experience a wound to our heart, or our soul, it feels like being torn apart.  Sometimes it even feels like we are bleeding inside.  Eventually, the bleeding will stop and the wound closes.  However, what is it we have closed up?  Have we truly healed the wound or have we simply closed up anger, hurt, regret, and remorse inside?  If we have not healed the wound, some people will experience "weeping wounds" which doctors and nurses describe as a wound that doesn't heal because of some type of noxious fluids that fester and ooze out.  How many weeping wounds can a person suffer before their whole system is contaminated.  

The Greek word for "trauma" is wound.  A wound that is not healed will fester.  Almost all philosophers believe we will die without ever healing our wounds.  

The Bee Gees believed that you cannot mend a broken heart.  You can't stop the rain from falling and you can't stop the sun from shining.  Dolly Parton sings Silver threads and golden needles can't mend a broken heart.  They are all probably right.  We may not be able to mend a broken heart but God can.  

The 23rd Psalm provides us with some answers.  Look at the first three verses: 

"The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul."

How does God restore our soul?  He makes us lie down in green pastures.  Green pastures refers to the bread of life which is Jesus Christ.  He leads us beside the still waters.  Still waters is the opposite of troubled waters.  He restores our soul.

God knows we go through troubled times and become anxious and depressed but God also wants us to be restored to a life of joy.  He wants us to slow down and know that He is with us.  He wants us to allow Jesus to touch and heal every hurt and wound that we may have closed up rather than allowed to heal.  

In ancient times, healing meant to be whole, which meant that if a person became sick they would not be whole anymore.  Something has happened that has broken our wholeness and disease has come into our body.  Something will have to be done, actively not passively, as time has nothing to do with healing.  

In pain management, you are taught to relax your muscles or wherever the pain is.  If you tighten up, the pain will obviously get worse the more you resist it.  Allow the pain to be present.  When you breathe deeply and become more aware of the pain, there is room for it to move and flow through you more easily.  Pain is there to tell us something is wrong whether it is physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual.  To become whole, means being open to our pain and our losses.  We include those things that would have been forever lost and not recognized as needing to be healed if we had not taken the time to heal.  One of my favorite singers is Carly Simon who touches on this with her wonderful song, "There's More Room In A Broken Heart."  

Time does not heal.  However, healing does take some time.  Let God help you through the process.  That's one of the things He does best.  


  1. How do you know it is what God wants and not your will?

  2. I don't exactly understand your question. Do you mean, "Is it God's will to heal everyone?" If that is the question than I believe we have to respect God's will because not everyone is healed. (see "When a Child Dies," in the February blog.) God has promised us He will see us through whatever trauma we are experiencing and give us His strength and love to see us through, whatever the final outcome.

  3. Thank you again for offering comments on this article. Again, I don't understand exactly your question, so I will approach it from another angle. Assuming you are not talking about physical healing, but more in tune with the heart of this article which is about whether time can heal emotional wounds - the answer would be different. I believe that if we come to God and petition God to help us heal our emotional wounds that God not only wants to heal us but can heal us. Keep in mind that God cannot steer a parked car. We have to take an active part in our healing. He does restore our soul. Thank you again for your question. Let me know if I did not answer your question.

  4. Yes...your second response to my question is more what I was thinking about. Knowing that God WANTS to heal us is so comforting also, like the idea about steering a parked car...we do have responsibility in it and when you are so beat up, it is hard to peel yourself up off the ground and move forward. Sometimes I feel like I am on auto pilot, that is when I start wondering am I moving in the direction God would have me go or am I just wondering aimlessly in the wilderness. Thank you for your responses...very helpful.