“God will not look you over for medals, degrees, diplomas but for scars.” – Elbert Hubbard.
Whatever that had caused Hubbard to write the above, it caused me to ponder upon the scars of life we all experienced in life in one way or another.
Scars are wounds that have healed.
Do you have wounds that have healed?
What did your wounds make out of you?
How about becoming a more graceful and benevolent person to others? That was from a recent discussion exchanged between me and siblings as we reflected over the life story of our mom. She has, despite her long and difficult life, left behind a legacy of 以德报怨 (“repaying meanness with kindness” in Chinese).
Mom has exemplified a blueprint of a reborn and seriously committed Christian: nursing wounds with grace, repaying evil with goodness (1 Peter 3:9; Romans 12:17-21). In fact, she was modeling Lord Jesus Christ, who has overcome wickedness with love.
To deepen my thoughts on the subject matter, I re-read a book by Ledbetter and Bruner, The Heritage.
I realized that whether we’re intentional or not, we’re going to pass on spiritual, emotional and social legacies that could potentially build or hurt people of our generation, as well as those who come after us.
A firmly rooted spiritual legacy pertaining to the One, true God enables us to deal with the unseen realities of the spiritual domain. During the Dark Ages, Augustine of Canterbury was saved from his utterly sinful life due to his mom Monica’s persistence in battling spiritual Enemy. Today, Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s firstborn son, though had spurned his father’s faith as a teenager, yet became an evangelist because he was converted by “an overpowering conviction,” which compelled him to get his life right with God. On the other hand, poor spiritual heritage makes one “unable to see anything from a spiritual standpoint” (The Heritage, p. 45), and therefore would not be able to manage the unseen spiritual reality.
A strong emotional legacy makes one able to deal with the scars of life. “The scars from the burns will always be there,” but one with a solid emotional legacy is able to face the traumas of life. As in my mom’s life story, she was able to draw strength from the Lord to continually provide warmth, security and stability to our household despite multiple happenings that potentially destroyed us altogether. Not only us, her children, had found solace in her hymn-singing during moments of humiliating threats, others who came to stay or visit with us were blessed by the liberating spirit of grace and faith at our home. Without mom’s solid emotional legacy, we would not have been able to absorb “emotional hits” and live a normal life. As delineated in The Heritage, page 65, combining with a strong spiritual segment of the heritage, “the emotional will search for a reason — a purpose to the slightest wound — in order to ease the pain it must endure.”
Last but not least, a healthy social legacy gives insights and strong skills in building meaningful and enriching relationships all the days of our life. A solid social legacy yields the Fragrance Five, i.e., (The Heritage, p. 108):
A – Affection
R – Respect
O – Order
M – Merriment
A – Affirmation
A legacy that has an aroma in it. We would love to embrace it, and be intentionally about passing it on. So help us God.