Ever noticed how a cut doesn’t hurt until you see the blood?
We had a houseful of friends over Sunday night, and those of you who were here will recall Calleigh (my 5-year old daughter) coming in from the backyard crying. She had been running barefoot when she stepped on a sharp rock, peeling back a chunk of skin on her big toe. I picked her up and sat her in my lap when someone noticed that her foot was bleeding.
And then Calleigh discovered she was bleeding. That’s when things got crazy. At the sight of blood, “crying” transitioned into “hysterical shrieking.” Beth and I carried Calleigh and her siren screams upstairs to the bathroom to wash out the wound, which caused her wailing to go up another couple decibels. In order to keep our guests from being too distracted by this little calamity, we closed the bathroom door, but I’m sure they could still hear my little girl yelling things like, “Stop touching me!!!” and “Leave me alone! Why are you doing this to me???”
Beth and I began to laugh (without Calleigh seeing) because of what it must have sounded like to everyone else in the house. I swear, we were not sawing off her toe…without anesthetic. We were simply running water over her toe, dabbing it with a tissue and putting a Band-Aid over it.
Back to my point… we all have blood. But it freaks some of us out to actually see it. We recognize that we all have blood – and need blood – but we don’t want to see it, ya know.
I think sometimes our struggles and failures and inherent weaknesses are like blood. Deep down we know that everyone has these struggles, blunders, weaknesses, and the like – but we don’t like it when life cuts us in ways that causes this “blood” to show.
I have a confession to make: I bleed. A lot.
I regularly mention – somewhat in joking fashion – that I laugh at the title of “pastor.” One of the reasons it makes me laugh is because I know that I bleed just like everyone else. I have bloody failures and flaws and shortcomings and insecurities. I can be running along gracefully fulfilling my call one minute, and then get tripped up the next.
And when I do, my blood shows.
What I don’t need is for you to approach me with a Band-Aid. Instead, and this may sound weird, I just need you to tell me it’s okay to bleed. And consider bleeding with me.
Back to Calleigh’s traumatic bleeding accident… A couple hours later that same night it was time for Calleigh to go to bed. Her fatigue was getting the best of her as she began crying again about her toe – it hurt, she was embarrassed by how it looked, she couldn’t sleep because it might start bleeding again.
I laid beside her and let her cry and complain. Then I began telling her of a time a few years ago when my toe was bleeding. I shared the story about the time I tripped, stubbed my toe, and it began to bleed. I was embarrassed but some of my friends helped me find a Band-Aid. We applied pressure, put Neosporin on it, wrapped it up and sat there for a while. And my friends sat there with me.
Tears about her toe gradually turned into, “You hurt, too, daddy? And you bled just like me?” She relaxed and soon we drifted off to sleep.
Sometimes when you are bleeding you don’t need a Band-Aid. Instead, you just need someone to tell you that it’s ok to bleed.
Jesus is described as “a man of sorrows” and “acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53). Despised and rejected, Jesus bled.
I grew up thinking of Jesus as a giant Band-Aid. But one of the things I’ve grown to really love about Jesus is that sometimes He doesn’t hand out a Band-Aid; instead He simply says, “It’s ok to bleed.”
Christian community is when we bleed together. It’s not a small group of people who gather to fix one another, or to share the latest remedy that worked for your grandma. To me, this is what healthy community looks like: Sit beside me, and let me bleed without it freaking you out.
And know that you are welcome to bleed with me.