The greatest need for someone with Post traumatic Stress Disorder is not someone to tell them the answers or even point them to a professional (that often does more damage than good.) The answer is compassion. It is hard for many to do it but it makes all the difference. All most people with PTSD need is compassion and concern.
People are often telling people with trauma to get over it. If they do not, they are saying they need to go see a therapist so they can be “normal.” There can be often suggestions like pastoral care. The problem is none of these will work. They are just understood by the person with the trauma as they are broken and not worth your concern. They are being pushed away until they walk away.
As a ministry that focuses on reaching people with PTSD, the answer is not the government (who admits they have no answers) nor is it the mental health industry (that also admits they have no answers). The only hope for the people with trauma is the gospel of Jesus and the compassion of the believer.
What does the scripture tell us about compassion for people suffering?
[table id=2 /]
Compassion and New Testament
As you can see, the New Testament has much to say about the issue. There is at least 87 references to the need for compassion or mercy on someone hurting. Having compassion on someone is related to understand God’s covenant, walking in truth, and having godly passion in the Kingdom. The totality of the New Testament paints a picture that how you teach the broken is a mirror of how you see your relationship with the Father.
It is understandably hard to walk someone in a relapse with PTSD and just have compassion on them. It can hurt to know there is little you can do, outside of loving them, but is that the bedrock for healing when things normalize again.
When I had my nasty relapse in 2016-2018, I had a lot of people trying to be Dr. Phil to me and it was offensive and shown me they were more interested in the issues going away under the rug than they were in my overall health and ending the cycle.
I sit at doctor offices because they is what people told me that I needed to do. It only got worse. The problem was they want to give answers, not compassion and not be sympathetic. It was actually very problematic and only made things worse for me.
The only answer was the gospel of Jesus. People are not called to be the answer but just walk in and be deeply moved by compassion. Anything past that is outside the biblical norm of being a comfort to others.
The man or woman that is hurting need to know they are cared for and there is hope for tomorrow. When we fail at this level, nothing else really matters and the sin issue is on the person that does not have the trauma.
Why Compassion is hard for many?
The truth is that people who do not understand the challenge of a PTSD cycle do not have the capacity to feel deep emotions for the person. They have not been there.
It is like what Peter and John dealt with in Acts 3. They could only give what they had received themselves. If you have never had to walk through a trail or grief, it is very complex to have empathy on someone else that does need it.
Someone born rich does not know what it means to be poor. It is hard for them to relate to people who live from welfare check to check. Why? They never had to do it. However, someone like Manny Pacquiao that was once a street kid in Mindanao (Philippines) remembers where he came from. He has a grid for the suffering.
I have a friend who works with the homeless population but he came from a middle class family and worked as an engineer because the Lord called him to work with the people he serves now. He has told me that he wonders how he could understand them better given that he has never been homeless or understand the plight of homelessness. He openly said there is a limit to the compassion simply because he does not have the experience.
It takes more purposefully work to operate in mercy when you do not have the understanding personally. It is not impossible, though. My friend is proof of that.