The following was written by Marcus Kelley at New Life Foursquare:
I have multiple roles in our community. I am the pastor of a church. I serve on the Plateau Outreach Ministries board and I serve as the chaplain for the police and fire here on the Plateau. Serving in these capacities has allowed me to see different aspects of our community and the wide range of human behaviors. As the chaplain, I’ve become aware of and I’m troubled about how we deal with trauma, grief and mourning.
I have some thoughts on this topic that I hope you find helpful. If you are a Bible-believing person, you know that we are created in the image and likeness of God, according to Gen. 1:26-31. The Bible also outlines that we were created to live in relationship with God, work hard stewarding the world God has given us and to multiply. I only point this out to show you what our main purposes are here on Earth. Our DNA was programed to accomplish these types of activities.
Why is dealing with broken relationships, sickness and death such a hard thing for humanity? Let’s fast forward and now sin entered the world. With sin we now have broken relationships with God and with each other. We also have sickness, disease and death. These are the things that brought trauma into people’s lives back then and continues to today. We were never created to have to deal with it. We do not have the emotional code written into our DNA to know how to deal with this type of trauma and loss. While it is a common experience we all have to deal with, it is also foreign to our God-created nature. This is why trauma, death and broken relationships are so hard.
The great thing about God is he gives us ways to deal with these kinds of situations. One of the greatest gifts God has given humanity is shock. It allows your emotions to separate from your given reality. After shock we then enter a state of grief. Grief isn’t necessarily a gift from God, it’s merely a reality of our state of emotional being. There is no way to avoid grief. You are going to be in it whether you want to or not. Avoiding grief is where I think we go wrong; we need to allow ourselves to go through this step. The next step is mourning. Mourning is the physical act of grieving. It is the crying and wailing. It is the undignified action that comes with grief.
As a society we do not value mourning, we see it as weakness. Because we don’t mourn well we tell others to stop or get over it. We become uncomfortable when we are around someone who is crying, caring on or angry over loss. We tell them to suck it up, get over it and move on. This is incredibly unhealthy and, I would suggest, sinful.
Matt 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” There is a promise from God that you will find comfort if you mourn, not if you just get over it. God wants us to mourn with people, not press them to get over it and move on.
My challenge for you all is to think about the way you deal with loss in your own life and how you help others deal with it in their lives. Make sure you are operating in a Godly manner as a support and not as a stumbling block for those who are traumatized.