Trauma and the Church
"As human beings, we were created in the very image, and likeness of God(Genesis 1:26-28). To understand who we are as humans, we must first understand what God meant when He said it, in Genesis 1:26-28. What does it mean to be created in the image and likeness of God? First, we must understand that God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4). Within Him being One, He is also three (1 John 5:7). We have God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit. Each are God, however, each has its own function. The Father directs everything. He is in a sense “The Mind”. Jesus says that He follows The Father's directions (John 14:31). Jesus is God, in a human body (1 John 4:2). The Holy Spirit is The Spirit of God. How does this relate to us? Well, we must come into the understanding that we are a spirit that has a soul/mind that dwells inside of a body. This means that we have three phases of life that we must keep in good health. We must also recognize that the health of one of these areas could very much affect the health of another area. Just as the Godhead complement each other, so each part of man compliments each other. We must keep our physical body in good health through exercising, various good eating habits, and maintaining a low level of stress. We must keep our spirit in good health through fasting/prayer, worship, and studying the Word of God. We must keep our mind in good health by meditating on the Word of God, keeping it free of stress, and speaking to a therapist whenever necessary. Out of these three, I would like to focus on the latter. Many Churches are good at focusing on the spirit man while they neglect mental health. Other Churches focus on mental health and surprisingly leave out the spiritual aspects of life. I have come to the conclusion in my study of scripture, that we must have a healthy balance of each. Let's take a further look into this.
When Paul wrote one of his letters to the Church of Corinth, he said something to them, that should resonate with many of us. He told them that we as believers have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). The Greek word that is used here for “mind” is the word “nous” and it means “the mind, the reason, the reasoning faculty, intellect.” according to STRONGS. As a believer, we have access to the mind of Christ which means that we have access to His reasoning and way of thinking. Digest that through meditation before you continue reading. Did you digest that? Good! You needed to so you could grasp this next part. There are many people that have dealt with traumatic events in modern history and in scriptural history. I, for example, have been involved in numerous car accidents since I was a little boy. One as an adult, that was potentially my fault. This presented me with PTSD to the point that if I see a car getting close to me I have flashbacks subconsciously and I lose the ability to function at times. With that being said, I must ask the Lord for strength to draw off of His reasoning and way of thinking to help me continue with my goal of defeating fear. Jesus underwent the most traumatic event that a human could go through. This was the Roman Crucifixion. Not only the crucifixion but having the burden of sin placed on Him as He was sinless as God in the flesh. This was so traumatic, that scripture tells us that His sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44). This is a condition called hematidrosis. This can happen at high times of stress and doctors believe it is related to the “fight or flight” system within us. This happens when the blood vessels in the skin break open and it gets squeezed out through sweat glands according to WebMD. If there is anyone that knows what trauma feels like, it is our Savior. Trauma is hard to break because it is a threefold cord. According to Ecclesiastes 4:12, these aren’t easily broken. The first cord is how it affects you mentally. The second is the demonic spirit that drives it. The third is the way it affects your physical body. To be delivered from trauma completely, all of these must be broken completely. You need to see a counselor in addition to renewing your mind through scripture to help you psychologically. You need to have the spirit cast out of your life, to help you spiritually. You also need to keep your body in good standing, because trauma can cause you to lose care for your body. I have a principle that I want you to remember. "You can’t counsel a demon. You have to cast it out. You can’t cast out a psychological issue. You must council it. You can’t council the flesh. You must crucify it. You can’t crucify your brain. You must renew it! "Someone once asked me why must we receive counseling if we cast the spirit out. My response to them is based on Matthew 12:43-45. If we cast a spirit out of our lives, but yet we are still driven by fear this will be an open door to let the enemy back in. Paul tells us to not give the enemy a seat of authority within our lives (Ephesians 4:27). To keep deliverance, we want to be delivered at all points lest we give the enemy a foothold.
The Body of Christ has been around for just under two thousand years. The early Church had a good understanding of what it meant to keep yourself healthy in all areas of your life. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, the modern church needs to be more balanced in this. Unfortunately, I have seen the disaster that it could cause when a person is neglected. I cannot count the number of times that I have heard a believer say the words, “A therapist isn’t needed. Jesus is all you need.” Now while Jesus is all you need, it is through Jesus (God) that we have counselors and therapists. In fact, this is Biblical. "The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD." (Isaiah 11:2) The Hebrew word that is used here for "Counsel" is "etsah" and it means "counsel, advice. It can be translated as "counselor" or "strategy". I have also seen some churches that embrace therapy but undermine the need for spiritual deliverance. This is also imbalanced. I do however thank God that there is a new wave of believers that understand the need of both. Imagine the agony of being a mother that lost her child in a mass shooting. Imagine the continuous heartbreak and pain that would cause throughout your day. The more that you try to ignore these thoughts of darkness, the more aggressive these thoughts become. This is the reality for Shaudelle Brooks, the mother of Akilah Dasilva who died at the hands of a mass shooter in 2018. As you can see in the main story, she is still very much grieved at the untimely and unpredictable death of her son. The only one that could heal her and her family in Christ. The sad thing is that Shaudelle isn’t alone. There are mothers every day, that experience the same trauma that she experiences. In 2018, Chicago experienced over 530 deaths at the hands of violence. That was a DECREASE, compared to the usual gun violence! Take into consideration, that many of these people have mothers that are still alive. Imagine how helpless they must feel knowing that Chicago has very strict gun laws, but that was not enough to save their child or children. Now I want you to turn your attention to the number of churches that are present in Chicago. I know of some churches that are actively attempting to assist those affected by this. Some of these churches have actual therapists within the church. Others simply throw the Bible at them and send them on their way. The latter must stop! Sure God can heal someone sovereignly, however, He gave The Body of Christ gifts for a reason and that reason is to help others. In closing, I want to ask you to look at the churches in your area. Look at the ones that you see helping those with trauma. Pray for their strength. Also, look at the ones that lack in that area. Pray for them. Most importantly look at yourself and ask the Lord what can you do to help. Although a mind, is a terrible thing to waste, an unhealed one, is the enemy's favorite place."
Deanna Fullerton, M.A. ( Eagles Rest Counseling )
Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor
Murfreesboro, TN. 37130
Kim Turner, M.A. ( Birds on a Wire Counseling )
Murfreesboro, TN. 37130
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Lisa Bowker, B.A. ( Sowing Hope Christian Counseling )
Counselors Outside Rutherford
8 Locations across Middle Tennessee
Suicide Prevention Lifeline