Spiritual Triage: Responding To Abuse, Abandonment, or
Operating In An Emergency…
The following advice is given with the assumption that you, your son
or daughter, or someone you love is a present victim of abuse,
abandonment, or betrayal. The following advice is given to you assuming
that you, your son or daughter, or someone you love is falling into a
life of sin, with no self-control and no self-discipline as a result of
the above actions by others.
This advice is triage. The actions and suggestions given below are
what we do on the field of spiritual battle when physical lives and
souls are being lost. The following advice comes from years of personal
experience in dealing with persons who have suffered from abuse,
dysfunction, or betrayal.
I am a pastoral care minister who much prefers leading others to
salvation and repentance through an all-consuming experience of knowing
the love of Christ within their heart. However, the advice given below
is given realizing that many times we must function as persons giving
spiritual triage. When a soldier lies wounded on the battlefield, we
take care of the wound as best we can, call the medics, and pray. All
this happens while the battle still rages around us.
On the battlefield, everyone wants to be a pacifist, but in battle,
your choices are to fight or die.
You can only solve one problem at a time. Letting yourself get
overwhelmed is a result of Satanic influence getting the better part of
You can work on only one problem at a time. Resolve to solve one
issue before going the next.
Your own humility is the greatest weapon against the games being played
to keep your off balance.
Keep a written record of progress or lack thereof. Use a diary format
if you wish, but keep some kind of written record.
Divide and conquer. Divide your difficulties into tiny bits and
pieces. Squish just one tiny difficulty at a time, and one by one, they
will all slowly go away.
For legal issues (and sometimes to get the attention of people who
make decisions about you and/or the person you love) get a mean
Christian lawyer. The meaner the better and demand representation.
Always assume that if you are not aggressive with the attorney then the
attorney will not represent you in an aggressive manner.
Get the person you love into an MD’s office for a complete check-up
including checks for any kind of brain chemistry issues or hormonal
imbalances. If you are a parent with a teenager, there is already a
hormonal problem that is the result of the normal changes teenagers are
going through. Medical check-ups are suggested not to see if there is
some kind of problem, but to see if the problem is out of the ordinary.
Medication should be used as a last resort ONLY if there are medical
issues that need attention.
Find an exorcist through a charismatic Catholic or Protestant church.
Use him if he thinks the situation with the person you love is an issue
of oppression or possession. This is not a joke. This is war. The
chances are slim that in this war you would need an exorcist but never
exclude any weapon. Beware of any exorcist who readily accepts the idea
that an exorcism is needed. The need for an exorcist is very, very, very
This is war. Kill the darkness. Play offense and defense. One tiny
sparkle of light from the love of God can dispel the darkness.
Do all things, think all things, be all things ONLY in the name of
First, pray for the person who is in the middle of the storm with you.
Then pray for your own wisdom, humility, and strength.
Find the Light of His love within you so you can share it night and
Demand results from yourself, from your children, from others, and
Giving up is a victory for Satan, not God. It is better to shake your
fist in anger at God than give in and give up in the battle against
Satan and the powers of darkness.
Keep a record of everything you say and do, and everything the person
you love says and does. Keep a record of everything every caseworker
says and does, and everything every other expert says and does. When you
have a written record of events then people who can help tend to listen.
Verbal reports to helping professionals don’t mean much anymore
because your verbal report gets lost with all the other thousand verbal
reports just like your own.
You are not alone in dealing with the issues of rebellion, lack of
self-control, and lack of self-discipline problems. Millions of other
people are fighting this same fight. Everything may look good on the
outside in our country, but behind closed doors, where no one can see or
listen; there is an incredible amount of sin, degradation, inner chaos,
and inner turmoil.
Do not expect to work through the problems of your abuse and the
problems of the abuse of the person you love all at the same time. You
should always put your own difficulties aside and focus on the other
Demand a prosperous life in Christ by being willing to give away
everything you have...money, property, problems, memories, children,
pain, joy…everything must be surrendered up to Him. At the moment of
surrender, even when you surrender the helplessness, turmoil, grief,
pain, and betrayed feelings, you DO get something back to illumine the
Count the blessings you have every second or they will disappear
before you count them. Counting blessings from within our heart brings
us closer to God’s love than anything else we could ever do.
Be a victor over your own difficulties so you can be a help to the
person you love.
You cannot save anyone else if you are dead.
There is daylight at the end of the tunnel but take a flashlight with
you just to make yourself feel better and/or use on the way.
Use the common sense God gave you. Abuse victims tend to easily lose
their perspective and common sense. When the person you love acts out,
whatever common sense the person had, evaporates. Get the person you
love to show you and others he or she has an IQ rather than an anger
Arguing about moral issues with someone who does not have Christian
morals is useless. What you should be talking about is being faithful
and how not being faithful hurts the heart and soul. The person you love
knows how it feels to have someone betray them. They need to be shown
that a person who hurts them is not faithful to them as a person or
faithful to God. One way a victim deals with this pain of betrayal and
abandonment is to be like the unfaithful person. The logic here on the
part of the person you love and other persons who have been hurt is
perverted. Unfortunately, this logic is often the only logic the victim
knows how to use.
Apologize. Apologize for whatever part you may have played in any
abuse scenario. Even if you were a passive bystander or even if you did
something in total ignorance and were innocent, apologize.
Share your grief with the person who has been hurt. If you do not
grieve because another person has been hurt then you should soul search
the reason why you have no empathy with this other person.
Confronting the real issues (being honest) is often more difficult
than living with the difficulty the real issues produce. When being
honest hurts more than telling a lie, most people are going to lie. This
is why morality is so important in a world, in a society, in a family,
and in a person.
Confusion, anger, and being abandoned often produces rebellion within
the victim against the people who can help the most.
You and the person you love have to live in the present moment only.
It is impossible to forget the past but you can put the love of Christ
between you and the past. This will keep the past from haunting you like
a ghost (which is what can and does happen to persons who suffer
You and the person you love must be honest about what is happening
now. You and the person you love must treat yesterday as if yesterday
does not exist. Now is the time to be honest, now is the time to be
responsible, now is the time in which you and others are living. You
cannot live in yesterday’s time and you cannot live in tomorrow’s
time. It is this very minute in everyone’s life that counts. All we
get from our past minutes of life is wisdom or ignorance depending upon
where we want to go in the next minute.
If you do not know where you are going (that is, you are lost) you
will wind up in a place where you did not want to be. This is true not
only for the person you love but also for everyone else.
For families or individuals that have abuse in the past or present,
respect for the individual is nearly non-existent. These persons can act
respectful but it is only an act. What lies beneath the surface of these
persons is a whole lot of anger, hatred, disrespect, and hurt. In
families with an abusive history, family members are seen as persons who
are there to hurt and who are expected to hurt back.
In families where abuse has been present, helping hands can be, and
quite often are perceived, as a fist that will hit one in the face. This
is why persons who need help often do not want to reach up or reach out
for help. After you have been repeatedly hit, you do not want to be hit
anymore. What you want to do then is hit back. Rebellion is the only way
to express the effects or pain from the hitting hurts from the past if
you have abuse–related perceptions. Getting professional help does
assist the victim in dealing with these issues.
The more honest you can be with yourself, the more honest you can be
with the person you love and with others.
Use moments of honesty rather than a lecture to get through to the
person you love. When you make a statement about your own life and your
own pain there is no defense or rebellion against this kind of honesty.
No one can help anyone else. All we can do is put opportunities in
front of others and pray they will see the opportunities and take
advantage of them.
I try to help homeless people each week. All of them have been abused
by others, by life, or are being abused as a result of their own
emotional immaturity. To change their lives, those persons who have been
betrayed and abandoned must learn to accept help. The person who needs
help must make willful decisions to take the opportunities offered.
If an exorcist cannot get rid of the "hell" in the person
you love, then if all else fails, fear can scare the "hell"
out of people. There are all kinds of ways of scaring people straight.
Remember, this is war.
A kind word and a hug can win more battles than a thousand arguments.
If others will not believe there is bad behavior being exhibited,
then buy a camcorder, hide it, and record the bad behavior. As an
alternative, you might also try to audio tape any outbursts to help get
others to respond to the needs that come out of the person. Remember
that this is war.
If only one agency is convinced that something is wrong and the
person you love needs help (when other persons or authorities are not
convinced of a need) then you should use this one agency to help
convince others. Although, convincing others that there is a problem my
not be necessary because they may already know there is a problem, they
just do not want to be responsive.
When you deal with bureaucrats, as you may now be doing, get to them
by getting them to see you as a human being. Get them to help by
reminding them of what they are supposed to be doing (in a nice way).
For bureaucrats, case managers, and all the other people with whom you
are dealing, aberrant behavior is so prevalent that this behavior is no
God has a plan but each of us must be willing to work the plan. Most
people expect to get in the car and go along for the ride while God
pushes. In real life, where real lives and real souls are at stake, we
do not go along for the ride because we are the ones pushing. We cannot
remain passive and expect God to intervene in every circumstance because
being passive is another way of being lazy.
On the battlefield, there are moments when the fighting stops. In
those moments, we can reflect upon the ugliness of war or we can reflect
upon the beauty of His peace.
We have all been betrayed in various ways and in various
forms. We have all felt the sting of people who abandon us when we need
them the most.
Even if you have been wounded, even if you have been abandoned, you
have someone who understands where you are and who you are. You have
someone who loves you no matter what. You have someone who understands
why you are, like you are. That person is Jesus. Jesus was abandoned and
betrayed by the people He called His own. Jesus was abandoned and
betrayed by the people He loved as family. Jesus was beaten and flogged
nearly to death, was then crucified and died a horrible death on the
Cross. Yet in spite of all the betrayal and abandonment He suffered, He
came back to the people who betrayed Him. He came back to them and still
loved them and forgave them and welcomed them into His heart and
kingdom. Today, 2000 years later, He is still welcoming into His arms
people who are betraying others and the people who suffer from the
betrayal. If you, someone you love, or some other person has been
abused, abandoned, or betrayed, then Jesus understands everything you
are going through and He wants you to let Him into your heart.
Matthew 26: 23 Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand
into the bowl with me will betray me. 24The Son of Man will go just as
it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!
It would be better for him if he had not been born." 25Then Judas,
the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?"
Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you."
Matthew 26:30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount
of Olives. 31Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all
fall away on account of me, for it is written: " `I will strike the
shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' 32But after I
have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee." 33Peter replied,
"Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."
34"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very
night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."
35But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never
disown you." And all the other disciples said the same.
Luke 24:36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself
stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 37They
were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to
them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?
39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a
ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."