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Time Heals Nothing


I am thinking today about healing and growth, two of the most beautiful things our world can know and, not coincidentally, two of the most painful.

I saw this clever illustration today and instead of appreciating it, everything in my gut wrenched and shouted,

“That’s not true!”

If you’ve heard it and believed it, you must know that it’s a lie.

Time does not heal all wounds.
Time does not heal any wounds.

That’s why people carry grudges to their graves.  Why people spend thousands of dollars on therapy every year.  Why bitterness and resentment and contempt kill marriages every day.  Because time doesn’t do squat.

It can sometimes feel like time is the magical wound-eraser, but only because in time, the real healers can do their work.  Consider:

Time doesn’t heal wounds; forgiveness heals wounds.  And forgiveness takes time.
Time doesn’t heal wounds; perspective heals wounds.  And perspective takes time.
Time doesn’t heal wounds; maturity and grace heal wounds.  And maturity and grace take time.

Ultimately, time doesn’t heal wounds; Jesus heals wounds.  And never, ever in my experience has Jesus tapped me with a magic wand and erased my emotion – my hurt – my humanness.  He wouldn’t take that from us; it’s too valuable to our human experience.  T0o crucial in our understanding of who He is: a God who loves, rejoices, weeps and hurts.  What He has done – is heal me.  He has worked forgiveness into my heart – into places so hurt and hardened that only He could do it.  And it took time.  He has carried me minute by minute, dispensing peace in the exact measure of my need, over time.

There is a great line from an early episode of House (which I’ve always loved because of the writers’ wit and fearlessness in discussing philosophical concepts).  A patient named Eve tells Dr. House, “Time changes everything,” and House responds,

“That’s what people say; it’s not true. Doing things changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were.”

If you need healing, get busy.  Get busy praying.  Get busy crying, feeling, growing, forgiving, begging for grace.

Healing and growth are not instantaneous – none of the best things are.  But neither are they guaranteed with time – none of the best things are.

So can we please stop perpetuating this lie of a proverb?  Time doesn’t heal wounds; it doesn’t have that kind of power.  But God does.


  • sarah yoder

    Okay, girl…this is amazing, and powerful and TRUE! Thanks so much for sharing this! I agree with you 100% and it is sad because ideas like “time heals all wounds” get taught in the church all the time and leave people more messed up then they were to begin with! This post is the kind of thing that we all need to hear…to uncover the truth, not just be content with the pretty, glossy answer, but to really WORK toward truth! Thanks again for sharing your heart! It really ministered to me today!

  • Laura Beth Dennis

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been following your blog for some time now…but this is my first comment. I feel so strongly about this subject and you put it into words beautifully. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are quite inspiring. Oh, and because of you I found “Bittersweet” by Shauna Niequist and it has had me laughing and crying (sometimes at the same time!). It is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Thanks again for this thought-provoking, beautiful post.

  • Dana Mo Joy Portwood

    Coming from an enormous well of giant hurt – every word of this is true.
    And yes, left to my own devices I would be a hateful hurtful terrible shrew.
    Thank God He is graceful and patient enough to deal with a slow child like me.

  • julia jay

    awesome words, thank you for the reminder

  • Mary Brabston

    You go, girl! I agree with everything you said!

  • Dad

    GR8 post Kate –

  • Liz Points

    Thank you for this post, it’s so true and I did need to hear it this week.

  • Robin Smith

    I needed this. Thank you!

  • Jen D

    Thank you for this, Kate! So true. I look so forward to your posts!

  • Danielle

    I’ve had the same feeling, but you’ve shared it so perfectly. A message needed by so many. I’m sharing this one!

  • P. Sammy

    I love your perspective. Such a thought-provoking article. Thank you.

  • Alyson Frasier

    Recently, God began opening my eyes to “truths” from the world which have nothing to do with His Kingdom. Thank you for sharing a real truth straight from the throne of God!

  • Victoria

    I can’t remember how I came across your blog, but I read it religiously now. I love how honest you are and there is something beautiful and life giving in the words you write. I especially appreciated this post as I’ve spent the past three years seeking healing from a specific period of my life. I’ve often had friends ask, “when do you think you’ll be healed?” or “When can you stop going to therapy about this?” and the like. It’s hard to explain how there is no time frame because time does not heal. But God does. OH He does. And I’ve been working hard and God has shown up day after day after day. There will never be full healing on this side but God is doing incredible things in me and is preparing me for great and amazing things :)

  • Maya

    nice write up, but can not agree fully what you wrote. You wrote …forgiveness takes time, perspective takes time etc. I would rather say …forgiveness needs your decision not time and so on. When things feel like coming back then you need to go back to your decision….rest are on our Lord. He is healer ….and as He wish…healing can be an instant event as well.