Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Do you think you are evil because of PTSD?

Suicide prevention starts with what works and you can get a basic idea of what I'm talking about. It all boils down to one simple fact. What you need to heal is already within you. You just need help getting it all connected back again.

Do you think you are evil because of PTSD?

by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
April 22, 2013

I hear it all the time. Veterans thinking PTSD is some kind of punishment from God. They start to believe they are evil because of the flashbacks and nightmares centered around what happened during combat. The things they see stay with them. That is why I wrote the title of THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR. With the bombings in Boston, many said they saw things no one should ever have to see. Most of them were veterans. Seeing what man can do to others hits hard. It was not just seeing the evil that happened, but what came afterwards that was loving, kind and compassionate as total strangers rush to help the wounded.

Two people decided to do evil but hundreds decided to do good.

When men and women are involved in combat they tend to focus on only the bad around them but even during war, there are acts of kindness and compassion surrounding them and when people are able to hang onto what is good surrounded by what they view as evil, there is evidence of God. It is hard to see Him when they see so much horror but He is always there.

Many believe because they are being haunted, it is punishment and then they do things based on that belief. They push people away, afraid to let them get too close or judge themselves to no longer be worthy of being loved. They cannot see the goodness that still remains within them.

There are questions that have to be asked of them usually centered around things they have forgotten. Ask them why they wanted to join the military and usually it is about someone else. They wanted to serve the country. They wanted to help the others serving. They wanted to give back. Is there anything evil or selfish in any of those answers? No. They forget that part. Ask them what they want to do once they heal and usually the answer is they want to help others heal too. Anything evil in that? No. Ask them if they grieve. Usually the answer is centered around other people they grieve for and not for themselves. Anything evil in that? No.
How do they go from being so unselfish to believing they are evil? They are judging themselves with focusing only on what was wrong, what they did wrong and the wrong done to others. No one showed them what they were unable to see. Once they see they grieve because they still have goodness within them, they begin to heal. They heal faster when they can forgive their enemies and even faster when they can forgive themselves.
Learning to Forgive Yourself, by Jean Lawrence on WebMD explored forgiving.
"I think people often try to forgive themselves for the wrong things," says Joretta L. Marshall, PhD, a United Methodist minister and professor of pastoral care at the Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. "We think we ought to forgive ourselves for being human and making human mistakes. People don't have to forgive themselves for being who they are -- gay or lesbian, or having some kind of handicap. Forgiveness means being specific about what we did that needs forgiving."
Forgiving yourself isn't a slogging, long-term, "good day/bad day" type of thing, Marshall says. "At some point," she says, "you reach a turning point. Something shifts. You feel less burdened, you have more energy. You live longer, you have better health."

"We all screw up sometime," Hartman says."Forgiving ourselves is as close as we come to a system reset button."

There is no trick to healing them. It is not magic. It is not anything I can do for them. It is what is already inside of them to heal. They just have to find the connections again and that has to start with helping them to see the goodness that still lived through everything they faced.

It is not up to us to dismiss what they feel they need forgiveness for but it is up to us to help them find it. It is not up to us to judge what they have done but to help them find peace. This is not about one group or denomination among Christians. It is not about one faith over another. I am a Christian, so that is what my work is based on but no matter what faith they have or lack, they are addressed as other humans based on what they already believe. My job is to help them rediscover everything they were born with and help them get past the pain by reminding them that evil people do not grieve for others or regret anything they did.

That is the mission of Point Man International Ministries. It isn't expensive. Taking time and talking to veterans doesn't cost more than some books and coffee usually. Done in small groups, over the phone or thru emails, veterans have been healing since 1984 but this "moral injury" has been reported going back the the days when King David wrote about it in Psalms. You won't see huge fundraisers since most of us operate out of our pockets and don't have a clue how to raise money. Most of us are supported by generous churches valuing the work we do. It takes time, patience, compassion and love. We wouldn't do this work for "evil" people simply because it wouldn't work on the selfish. Selfish people do not care what God thinks of them. Loving people do. 

Last week I wrote two posts on healing and survivors guilt.Walking Point out of PTSD darkness and "It should have been you" said dying Marine Looking for more details to put into my new book, THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR, I found one going back to a month after I started this blog. Considering yesterday I celebrated the fact this blog has been read 1 million times, I thought it would be good to share it with some of the new readers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Kathie Costos for Wounded Times
To lay down his life for the sake of his friends.

Do you think God abandoned you still? Come on and admit that while you were in the center of the trauma, you either felt the hand of God on your shoulder, or more often, never felt further from Him. In natural disasters, we pray to God to protect us. Yet when it's over we wonder why He didn't make the hurricane hit someplace else or why the tornadoes came and destroyed what we had while leaving the neighbors house untouched. We wonder why He heals some people while the people we love suffer. It is human nature to wonder, search for answers and try to understand.

In times of combat, it is very hard to feel anything Godly. Humans are trying to kill other humans and the horrors of wars become an evil act. The absence of God becomes overwhelming. We wonder how a loving God who blessed us with Jesus, would allow the carnage of war. We wonder how He could possibly forgive us for being a part of it. For soldiers, this is often the hardest personal crisis they face.

They are raised to love God and to be told how much God loves them. For Christians, they are reminded of the gift of Jesus, yet in moments of crisis they forget most of what Jesus went through.

Here are a few lessons and you don't even have to go to church to hear them. ( Matthew 8:5-13)

As he entered Caper'na-um, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress." And he said to him, "I will come and heal him." But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; be it done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment.

This sounds like a great act Jesus did. You think about the Roman Centurion, powerful, commanding, able to lead men into combat, perhaps Jesus even knew of the other men this Centurion has killed. Yet this same man, capable of killing, was also capable of great compassion for what some regarded as a piece of property, his slave. He showed he didn't trust the pagan gods the Romans prayed to but was willing to trust Jesus.

Yet when you look deeper into this act, it proves that Jesus has compassion for the warriors. The life and death of Jesus were not surprises to Him. He knew from the very beginning how it would end. This is apparent throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. He knew He would be betrayed, beaten, mocked, humiliated and nailed to the cross by the hands of Romans. Yet even knowing this would come, He had compassion for this Roman soldier. The Romans had tortured and killed the Jews since the beginning of their empire as well as other conquered people. The Roman soldiers believed in what they were doing, yet even with that, there was still documentation of them suffering for what they did.

Ancient historians documented the illness striking the Greeks, which is what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is evidence this illness hit every generation of warriors. Jesus would be aware that saving the Centurion's slave, because of the faith and trust He placed in Jesus, would be reported from soldier to soldier. Jesus showed compassion even to the Romans. How can we think that He would not show compassion to today's soldiers? How can we think that He would look any differently on them than He did toward the soldiers who would nail Him to the Cross?

God didn't send you into combat. Another human did. God however created who you are inside. The ability to be willing to lay down your life for the sake of others was in you the day you were born. While God allows freewill, for good and for evil, He also has a place in His heart for all of His children. We humans however let go of His hand at the time we need to hold onto it the most.

When tragedy and trauma strike, we wonder where God was that He allowed it to happen. Then we blame ourselves. We do the "if" and " but" over and over again in our own minds thinking it was our fault and the trauma was a judgment from God. Yet we do not consider that God could very well be the reason we survived it all. PTSD is a double edge cut to the person. The trauma strikes the emotions and the sense that God has abandoned us strikes at the soul. There is no greater sense of loss than to feel as if God has left you alone especially after surviving trauma and war. If you read the passage of Jesus and the Roman, you know that this would be impossible for God to do to you. Search your soul and you will find Him still there. For the last story on this we have none other than the Arch Angel Michael, the warrior angel. If God did not value the warrior for the sake of good, then why would He create a warrior angel and make him as mighty as he was?

Michael has a sword in one hand and a scale in the other. God places things in balance for the warriors.

And in John 15:

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
When it comes to waging war, issuing orders, God will judge the hearts and minds of those who sent you and He will also know yours. If you feel you need to be forgiven, then ask for it and you will be forgiven. Yet if you know in your heart the basis of your service was that of the willingness to lay down your life for your friends, then ask to be healed. Know this. That if Jesus had the compassion for a Roman how could He have any less compassion for you?

Because the military is in enough trouble already trying to evangelize soldiers for a certain branch of Christianity, understand this is not part of that. It's one of the benefits of having I don't care what faith you have or which place of worship you attended. If you were a religious person at any level before combat, your soul is in need of healing as well. There is a tremendous gift when the psychological healing is combined with the spiritual healing. If you have a religious leader you can talk to, please seek them out.
If you doubt this, the top post on Wounded Times is "For those I love I will sacrifice" and has been read over 35,000.

If you don't have one, or one who will listen to you, call me at 407-754-7526 or email me

If you don't want to talk to a woman than go toPoint Man International Ministries site and use the drop down menu for OUTPOSTS find your state and contact them.

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