Part of the healing process of any cut is the development of a scab. Scabs are really interesting. They’re essentially hard bits of dried skin that form a protective layer over where the cut occurred. Underneath the scab the cut is being healed, the opening is slowly being closed, and new skin being grown. It isn’t until this last step is nearly complete that the scab will naturally fall away.
As scabs form and cuts heal, the area can be very itchy. Anyone of us who has experienced a cut and a scab may remember the challenge of not picking at it. If we fall into the temptation of the itch, and pick the scab, we might break it. Depending on where the process of healing is, our cut might begin bleeding again, or the new skin might be exposed and scar more severely than had it been left under the scab longer.
While itchy and annoying, scabs are necessary. The protection of the area is needed for the healing to happen. Now, I’ve recently asked myself, how many times have I experienced a cut, an offense, an injury of sorts, in the relational, social, or cultural space, not the physical one? How many times have I done what was necessary to allow that cut to heal? How many times did I pick at the scabs instead of letting protection build up around the area for a time? How many times did picking at the scab make the cut worse than it was to begin with?
Unless we want to prevent true healing we shouldn’t interrupt the natural healing process. Or in the words I ear echoing in my ear, “Quit picking at your scab.”