My husband and I were working for a Boy Scout camp set in the Sangre de Christo Mountains when we met. I loved everything about being there. Thousands of scouts came through the camp to experience the outdoors, history, and richness of the region during each summer.
Occasionally a scout would be injured while on his hike and he would have to come into base camp to get medical attention. Most of the time, the scout would remain in base camp until the injury was healed or his troop came back from the hike. These injured scouts were called the Walking Wounded. Their injuries were evident by the bandages, crutches, or other outward signs that something was not as it should be with them.
Unfortunately, in the rest of the world, there are thousands of Walking Wounded, but their injuries are inside, not easily recognized and identified by the naked eye. It can make situations much more difficult to navigate.
The world’s Walking Wounded can take many forms; people who have been abused are at the top of the list–the most critically wounded, those who have psychological disorders, then comes those who struggle with addictions in their various forms, and people who have experienced emotional and physical abandonment by loved ones. There are more I am sure, who have not been able to show their brokenness on the outside with a cast, but are still in great need of a Physician.
One of the issues that often comes up with the Walking Wounded is their desire to wound others, to not feel alone in their pain. This reactionary wounding can be subtle or volatile, it just depends on the person.
The key, actually, one of many keys to this kind of person, is to find the balance to acknowledge his or her pain without being drawn into their pain so that it becomes our pain as well.
It can be much easier in theory than in practice.
Some ways the Walking Wounded may be helped:
1. Love them where they are— they may be too broken to see a path out– don’t try to force them to do what they are not able to do at this time.
2. Pray for them— often. Pray for the Holy Spirit to reach them and draw them to the Great Physician for healing.
3. Acknowledge their pain, but don’t wallow with them in it. A broken person can be very good at manipulation and can pull you into his or her drama before you realize it.
4. Keep strong, firm, loving boundaries. It is imperative to your own emotional balance to not allow their brokenness become your own or overwhelm your life.
5. Seek help. Help for you through Al-anon or other support groups for people with addictions, a counselor for you to keep yourself whole in the midst of the broken person’s situation. Offer to get them help if they are willing, if they are not drop it. Hounding and nagging never changed a person.
6. Be patient. It took time for the person to become broken, it will take time for them to heal.
7. Recognize that their wounds are not your job to heal. Yes, walk with them in the healing if possible, but you are not God, you cannot heal what only God can heal.
Finally, understand that some Walking Wounded have been hurt for so long they cannot see their lives without the hurt. In other words, they may be unwilling to seek healing. It is a sad situation to see, especially when we know that Jesus is the Ultimate Healer and Restorer of our Souls. (“for I am the Lord, who heals you.” Exodus 15:26 …he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23:3).
My recommendation is to continue to follow the steps above. Remember, each of us is made in His image and are precious in His sight. We matter to God, we should matter to each other, too.