Trauma + The Church: Assumptions

We all make them and they usually lead to chaos, heartache, confusion, anger, and betrayal. ASSUMPTIONS are one of the worse things we engage in as human beings. Assumptions are no stranger to the Church either and its response to the trauma of others. Assumptions block our ability to see people and situations the way Jesus would have us see things. Here are some common assumptions we may make in the Church in regards to trauma:

  • Assumption: Trauma is only what happens TO US. Reality: Trauma can also be something that we witness (someone else’s pain, the news, public violence, etc). Secondary trauma can impact you just as much as primary (personal) trauma.
  • Assumption: Trauma is meant to teach us a lesson. Reality: Traumatic events are not a cookie-cutter ordeal. There are a lot of variables at play during stressful times. We can learn about ourselves from the traumas we face but we need to be careful how we interpret what happens to us. Yes, sometimes we make mistakes and it can lead to bad things (and sin); however, not everything in your fault. We live in a world of evil and there are other people in this world too.
  • Assumption: Trauma is just psycho-babble. You just need to pray it away. Reality: This is absolutely terrible theology. You should pray about your trauma, sins, hopes, and dreams. However, you can’t just pray everything “away.” As Americans, we like to rush to the next thing (or person or job) without reflecting on what went wrong in the last living hell we were in. Sit in your pain. Take your pain to Jesus.
  • Assumption: Trauma is just a trend. Reality: Trauma is something we are just now exploring in mental health and ministry/spirituality. I worked in mental health for 10 years and it was just becoming a focal point when I left the field in 2018. I have been in pastoral ministry since 2020 and we are slowly being introduced to trauma and the need to dialogue about it in the Church/ministry field.
  • Assumption: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Reality: Words do hurt. Words can shape your outlook (good or bad) in life–whether they are your words or someone’s words spoken to you.

Check your assumptions. Test them to Scripture using Romans 12:1-2. Is this good? Is this pleasing to God? Does this align with God’s will?

Our next post in this series will focus on Soul Ties and how they can make or break our hearts and minds as a community of believers.

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