Prov 18:14 A man’s spirit can sustain him during his illness, but who can bear a crushed spirit?
In the eight years since leaving the spiritually abusive group I was in, there is one thing I have never been asked by religious people: “What can we do?” Unfortunately, too often what I have seen is Christianity pulling away from those who are hurting, walking by on the other side of the road as they see us wounded in the ditch, so to speak. And as in the parable, it is often those who would be deemed ungodly or unChristian who get us out of the ditch, carry us to shelter, and bandage our wounds.
I’ve come to wonder if this is in part because no one in the church is trained in triage.
Have you ever hurt your foot, gone to the ER, and had the nurse start by taking your pulse and BP? There is a reason. Unless the patient is in immediate danger, it’s better to gently, slowly work toward the injury, rather than jumping right to it, watching for reactions and assessing the patient’s comfort while working. When a person is scared or nervous, it’s best to set the person at ease–jumping right in can make the situation worse, not better.
We’re not trained to do this unless we have some medical background. We may even pride ourselves on being direct. But that’s not always wisest. So what would spiritual triage look like for a wounded spirit? It would be different for each person. But the list might include:
Invite me to be with you.
Ask if there’s anything you can do.
Look for little ways to help.
Don’t be shocked.
Don’t apologize for what happened and do NOT excuse it.
Don’t offer pat answers… maybe don’t offer any answers.
Ask good questions.
What else might fit on a list like this? What do you wish people had done for you or would do, or what are you glad someone did to help you in your woundedness?