My husband recently had an opportunity to work construction with a group of wounded veterans for a week. I met some of these former soldiers who served our country and are now serving people in need.

Knowing they’d all been wounded while serving overseas, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I noticed right away was that most of them had no obvious disabilities. No one was in a wheelchair or missing a limb. One man had a service dog with him, and several had nervous twitches, but otherwise, I couldn’t tell they had all been seriously injured.

As I talked with one, I learned he had been “blown up” in Iraq, had eight surgeries on his back, and now has an implant in his back and another plate in his leg. He was talkative and energetic. He has ongoing pain, but that didn’t become apparent until I saw him again at the end of the week.  He did say he had planned on being a career soldier but that changed when he was injured. Now he faces an uncertain future, but he is volunteering until a new path becomes clear.

Every one of us is wounded in some way, and most wounds are hidden. Some are easier to talk about than others, but we can all benefit from a caring heart.

When you meet someone–or when you are irritated by that grouchy cashier or rude customer–do you consider that he or she may be dealing with pain of some sort? It may be physical or it may be emotional. For me, recognizing the brokenness in others that I can’t see and giving them grace helps ease a portion of my own pain.

And it reminds me that Jesus took my pain on Himself when He went to the cross.

The Bible also tells us, “The Lord … heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:2-3, ESV). Sometimes He uses His followers to put flesh and blood to His healing touch.

How can you minister today to the wounded places in someone else? Will you let Jesus minister to you and heal your own secret wounds?