Imagine, if you will, that you’re asleep and having a dream. In this dream, you are in the military, and your unit is on the front line of a battle.
You have the best weapons and equipment available and are moving forward toward your objective. The enemy comes into sight; then they come into range and the battle begins.
From the very first bullet fired, it becomes clear that your army is at a severe disadvantage and quickly faces defeat on all sides. You watch as your comrades fall to the ground, one after another. It seems as if the enemy has seen your battle plans and knows everything your army is going to do before you do anything.
Then, as you look closer at your forces, you notice that while they do have the best weaponry and equipment, each and every one of them is injured. Some have heads wrapped with bandages, some have their arms in slings and others are on crutches or in wheelchairs.
As your vision becomes even clearer, you see that once the battle began, some of your leaders had run from the battle, while some had even joined the enemy in their attack and had convinced others from the ranks to join them in their betrayal.
You are out of ammunition and immobilized because of your injuries. You have watched the enemy defeat every other soldier. You see a soldier making his way toward you and just as he raises his rifle to shoot you, you see his face. Suddenly, you wake up shaken by the dream.
You attempt to understand the dream, but it just doesn’t seem to make sense. No nation would send its army into battle in such a condition.
It doesn’t matter if you have the best weaponry and equipment if you are unable to see, hear or use your arms or legs. How could the generals be so blind as to not see that there was no way that this army should be entering a battle? They didn’t need to be on the front lines. What they needed was to be in a hospital or rehabilitation facility.
The truth is that the only army that not only would but often does send its wounded into battle on the front lines is the body of Messiah. It is because we do this that so often we lose the battle. And once these new injuries take place, we simply send these newly injured soldiers back to the front lines with their injuries.
In a physical army, our injured are treated, given time to heal and most importantly, provided with counseling to help them heal mentally and spiritually. But in the army of Messiah, when someone is injured in the battle, we simply provide some Band-Aids and tell them to be strong and courageous and get back into the fight.
For some reason, we fail to understand that sending our wounded into the battle will only result in more wounded. Our battles are real and because they are, our wounds are also real. It is past time that the generals of our army open their eyes and see the truth, and we immediately change the way we treat our wounded.
As I look at the believers around me, I see many who are scared and spiritually deformed because they simply didn’t get proper care when they were wounded in the battle. We are surrounded in our synagogues and churches with those who are suffering from spiritual PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
The result of us not providing proper spiritual treatment for this spiritual PTSD is that many of these soldiers try to remain in the fight by self-medicating. Some with drugs, others with pornography, adultery, fornication. They try anything that can even for a moment take their mind off of their pain, their injuries and their perceived failures.
Too often, those sitting next to us in our worship services are these soldiers who are trying to fight alongside of us in our battle with their arms in a sling or walking on crutches because we are not providing proper care and treatment. We need to remember that it doesn’t matter how sharp your sword is or how strong your shield is if you are unable to pick them up. These wounded warriors, because they are unable to actually fight, end up being wounded further and because they cannot help drive away the enemy, others around them get wounded also and the cycle continues.
Take a moment and look around you next time you are in a worship service. If you are like me and take the time to look past the facade that we too often put on when we walk into our congregations, you will see people who are like the wounded warriors you read about in the opening paragraphs. And if we are honest and transparent, we will see that we are wounded also.
Being wounded doesn’t mean you are defeated or that you cannot reenter the battle. It does mean you need healing. Proper care and treatment provide the fastest possible healing.
As believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), we are a part of the most powerful army that has ever existed, but we are in a battle with a real enemy. We have been provided with the best weaponry possible in the Armor of G-D.
Until we start to be honest about the truth that most of us are in the battle trying to fight with untreated spiritual wounds, until we begin to take seriously the reality of ministry traumas, we will continue to see a growing number of wounded warriors in the ranks of our armies.
We will continue to see our leaders, our children, our spouses and our loved ones become collateral damage simply because we are too blind or too proud to see just how wounded our army is. Until we become honest about our wounds, we won’t be able to lead them to the great physician to be healed.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context.