The Scab You Won’t Stop Picking

Sharon JaynesDealing with Your Past, Forgiveness, Living Free, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For 31 Comments

I wonder if you’ve ever had hurt that just wouldn’t heal. I know I have. In today’s post, I’m talking to both of us. Maybe, just maybe, there is something we can do, or rather stop doing, to help the process.

Five-year-old Brooke was sitting in the backseat of a minivan while her mom and I ran errands. “Mommy,” she asked, “Is it worse to pick a scab or pick a mosquito bite?”

“You shouldn’t be picking at either one.” her mom replied.

I glanced back at Brooke as she tried to wipe away the bloody evidence that she’d done both.

Little girls aren’t the only ones who pick at scabs. We do it all the time. Maybe we don’t pick at the brown crusty scabs that form over a flesh wound preventing the skin underneath to heal. But many times we pick at the bitter rusty scabs that form over a soul-wound, not allowing the heart to heal. 

Barbara (not her real name) was such a woman. Her face bore the lines and creases of a woman dragging around years of bitterness and regret. She didn’t bear beautiful scars that reflected God’s story of redemption; but rather soul seeping wounds she determinedly picked at and decisively refused to let heal.

Barbara was raised in a “religious” home, the youngest of twelve children. Her father drank heavily and made sport of belittling his children and his wife. Her insecure mom always seemed to be tiptoeing through life and did little to protect her kids from her menacing husband. When Barbara’s dad forced his daughters to parade in front of him in their underwear, her mom remained fearfully silent.

Barbara’s dad told his twelve children that the first four were planned, but the rest were accidents. She was an accident.

To save time, many of Barbara’s siblings took baths together. She remembers her older brother molesting her with inappropriate touching in the bathtub. Several years later, she repeated the behavior by touching a younger neighbor in the same way. And for thirty-three years, Barbara picked at the scabs of shame and bitterness and refused God’s invitation to heal them.

I talked with Barbara for a long time as she recounted her story to me. I reassured her of God’s full forgiveness and undeserved grace. I pointed out redemptive Bible verses right there in black and white, and some in red. We talked about the necessity of forgiving those who have wronged us and forgiving ourselves for those we have wronged. We talked about letting go of the past and moving forward in the present. We talked about the truth that when we come to Christ, we become a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come. After about an hour, I realized that we weren’t getting anywhere.

“I hear what you’re saying,” she said, “but I just can’t forgive myself for what I’ve done, and I can’t forgive my dad for making me this way.”

Friend, hear me on this. This is important. It wasn’t that Barbara couldn’t forgive her dad or herself; it was that she wouldn’t forgive her dad or herself. It wasn’t that she couldn’t leave the past behind; it was that she wouldn’t leave the past behind. And as long as she continued rehearsing the misdeeds in the theater of her mind, she would never be free.

As long as she saw herself as the star of the show who was oh so wronged, but oh so right, there would never be final a curtain call for the story to end. Like a child who continues to pick at a scab, Barbara continued to pick at the scabs of her life, never giving them a chance to heal.

And Jesus said to the lame man who had been lying by the pool for 38 years, and to me, and to you: “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6 NIV).

I don’t know about you, but more than anything I want to live free of bitterness, resentment, shame, and condemnation. So when God says to me, “Do you want to get well,” my answer is always yes. But that means I have to cooperate by forgiving those who’ve hurt me and forgiving myself…to stop picking at the emotional scab and let it go.

Let’s decide to do that today!

God, I’ll admit that I sometimes pick at emotional scabs. I replay what was done and how it was done. I don’t want to do that any longer. I want to get up off my emotional mat, get up, and walk in freedom. Today I forgive ________ for _________, and will no longer hold the offense against the offender. I also accept your forgiveness for my sin of __________, and will no longer live in shame and condemnation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Did you pray that prayer today, filling in the blanks with what you need to release to God? If so, leave a comment and say, “I’m not picking the scab any longer.”

In Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let God, Move Forward, Live Bold, I reveal the most common reasons we get stuck in our Christian faith. I show you how to break free of all that holds you back, move forward with all that God promises, and live the adventurous faith of bold believing. It’s time to leave behind feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy that hold you hostage and take hold of the mountain-moving faith God intends. Let’s uncover untapped sources of confidence and courage, and see how to move from simply knowing the truth to actually living it out boldly in a life marked by true freedom and expectancy. It’s time to get UNSTUCK! (Includes a Bible Study Guide for group or individual study.)


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Comments 31

  1. I am ready to finally let my mind be healed! I have suffered for years with a BIG inferiority complex. Never truly believing that whatever I accomplished just wasn’t good enough. I have always felt that my sisters got all of my Mothers creativity and for some reason it skipped me. I know that I am loved by my family and my siblings and most of all my Jesus!! I just long to hear that negative voice in my head get turned off! I am way harder on myself than I am on others. I always tell the people I love to believe in themselves and to know that God always does. I would love to just believe in me half as much as my Heavenly Father does. God bless you for this study!! I would be very interested in doing it too. Thank you for listening.

    1. I understand how you feel. I am the same way. I often fight turning that negative voice off in my head. I repeat the words said to me as a child. Emotional wounds are so hard to heal and forget especially if I allow satan to remind me to pick at them. I really like the idea of looking at that pain as picking at a scab. We need to stop doing that. I know God can help us stop the picking. I just need to be reminded of that sometimes. We need to look to Him for help and encouragement.

  2. Thank you Sharon for writing this book! I’ve read it twice, because in this past year I found new emotional scabs to pick at. My resolution for 2020 is to only reflect on what went well, not what went wrong.

  3. I have chosen to no longer rehearse the things I’ve done and my negative experiences during my relapses with mental health. I choose to no longer pick at the scabs or regret, always wishing it never would have happened to me and why. I’ve surrendered to God’s peace and His perfect plan for my life knowing that He is able to work through all my mistakes. Each time the enemy reminds me of my past and how bad I’ve messed up, I will remind him that I am bought with the precious blood of Jesus and that He has already forgiven all of my past.

  4. “I’m not picking the scab any longer.” Or at least I am going to try. I pray that the LORD will heal me inside & help me to forgive this person so that I can get on with my life without the bitterness or hatred. Thank you for listening to me. God bless you!

  5. Hi Sharon, I loved your post about struggling with secondary infertility and I struggle with the same. And it’s hard. And tearful. Is there any of your books in which you go into more detail about how you went on after realizing God blessed you with one only child?

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  6. I’m picking at the scabs no longer! I wrote out pages of them and feel so free and light! I can’t believe what a difference I feel!

  7. I am not picking the scab any longer! This will be the last time I confess the same sins over and over and know I have been forgiven once and for all. The end of this chapter of my life.

  8. I would love to get the book you got advertized. It would do me good of where i am @. I live in new zealand though. Could i possibly buy copy and sent to my address. How much will it cost. I am dealing with some really horrific things. I dealt with forgiveness but satan really try to play with my mind and doing everything he can to for me not to trust God. The one thing which keeps on getting stuck in my head is for when i am weak then i am strong. I believe that is from God. It is a struggle every day and trying to fight the devil not to get into my head. It is going to be a long journey for me but i am choosing not to give up on my faith even when it is this difficult and real bad @ times. I don’t want satan to miss with my mind any more so i am also making an effort to listen to songs which going to build me up. I believe that with gods strength i am going to beat this no matter how hard it gets. I strongly feel i am getting a demotic attack on my life and need to break it off in jesus name.

  9. I forgive EVERYONE that has wronged me or hurt me! I forgive myself for whoever I wronged. I’m no longer picking the emotional scab. They are forgiven and I am forgiven 💗🙌🏻! I’M FREE in Christ!

  10. Well, I prayed, hope I can stick by it. It’s funny, I have forgiven my parents, I have sympathy for the whys that lead to my issues. I have a harder time forgiving myself for perpetuating some of the problems with my own kids that partially caused two of my own kids to reject me ( there was also a healthy dose of rebellion and choice of sinful lifestyle involved). It still hurts.

  11. I try to not pick at scabs left by my husband. Every time I try to forgive, he does or says something hurtful that breaks those scabs open again.
    How do we forgive someone that continues to open the scabs we are trying to heal?

  12. I have stopped picking at those scabs and now living my life and able to forgive others for harming me and to forgive myself for harming others through my actions. I thank god for his healing power. And to be able to love again after believing that it would never happen again for me.

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