Module 2: Being Heard

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There is value, purpose and healing in having your story heard.

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Module Content

SOUL WOUNDS

Soul wounds are a type of trauma caused by deep suffering and pain. They hurt all parts of your life, from how you feel, to what you think, and how you relate to others. If ignored, soul wounds can cause permanent damage. What can we do? How can we heal?

In this module, you will reflect on:

  • What is a soul wound?
  • Symptoms of a soul wound
  • Healing by being heard

Module Part 1

SOUL WOUNDS

Soul wounds can come from many different traumatic experiences. Listen to the story of Kris’s soul wound.

We’ll learn the conclusion of Kris and Adam’s story later in this module. But first, we will focus on the Soul Wounds we see in Adam. There are many different types of events that can lead to soul wounds. Click the cards below to learn more.

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Threat of Death

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Serious Injury

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Sexual Assault

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Accident

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Abuse

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Betrayal

Our souls can also be wounded, or traumatized, when we hear the details of someone else’s experience of trauma, especially if that person is a close family member or friend. This is referred to as secondary trauma.

A soul wound is like a physical wound. Think of a deep cut on your arm. How does it heal? What helps it heal? Let’s compare a physical wound to a soul wound. In the chart below, examine each item in the physical wound column and ask yourself: “Is this the same or different for a soul wound?” Then, click within the chart to reveal the provided answer.

Physical Wound

Soul Wound

It is visible.

?

It is invisible but shows up in the person’s behavior.

It is painful and must be treated with care.

?

Same.

If ignored, it is likely to get worse.

?

Same.

It must be cleaned to remove any foreign objects first.

?

The pain has to be expressed. If there is any sin, it must be confessed

If a wound heals on the surface with infection still inside, it will cause the person to become very sick.

?

If people pretend their emotional wounds are healed when really they are not, it will often cause the person greater problems.

Only God brings healing, but often uses people and medicine to do so.

?

Same.

It takes time to heal.

?

Same.

A healed wound may leave a scar.

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Same. People can be healed, but they will not be exactly the same as before the wound.

Reflect & Respond

Journal Exercise #1

What kinds of events could cause soul wounds? Have you known anyone who has suffered in this way? Have you been wounded in this way?

If you have not yet downloaded and printed your Module 2 journal, you can download it now.

Module Part 2

SYMPTOMS OF A SOUL WOUND

Soul wounds have symptoms just like physical wounds. Although, they may be harder to see. Watch the video below to learn about the three main symptoms of soul wounds.

WHAT MAKES SOME WOUNDS OF THE SOUL MORE SERIOUS?

Click the arrows on the left or right to continue.

People react to painful events differently. Two people may go through the same event, but one may have a severe reaction while the other is not affected much at all. A person is likely to react more severely if he or she:

  • Has other mental or physical problems
  • Naturally tends to feel strong painful emotions
  • Faced trauma earlier in their lives
  • Does not have a social support network

MORAL INJURY

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Many people describe moral injury as a type of “soul wound.” It happens when people believe they have acted in ways that go against their deepest beliefs about what is right and good, and when others have been harmed as a result.

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Eventually, they begin to experience emotional pain from the deep guilt and shame. Guilt is feeling that we have done something we think is bad. Shame is the feeling that we are bad or deeply flawed.

The Bible is full of examples of people pouring out their hearts to God. For example, the psalmist told God, “For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me” (Psalm 109:22). God wants us to be honest and speak the truth from our hearts.

HOW WERE THESE PEOPLE WOUNDED?

There are many situations in the Bible where men and women suffered guilt and shame after they violated their deep sense of what was right, or they witnessed such a violation. Read the three stories below and consider the soul wound each person faced.

WOUND

In 1 Samuel 22, David was on the run from King Saul, who was trying to kill him. While on the run, David accepted food and lodging from the priests of the city of Nob. After Saul heard this, he accused the priests of Nob of conspiring against him and ordered them killed. Eighty-five priests were executed and then Saul turned his wrath onto the city of Nob and attacked – killing the men, women, and children. One priest survived and told David what happened. David admitted that he feared his visit would be reported to Saul and took responsibility for the massacre.

GOD’S USE

David went on to become King of Israel. He followed God and became known as a man after God’s own heart. He authored many of the Psalms and his words are still sung in churches around the world to this day.

WOUND

In Matthew 26, Peter told Jesus that he would follow Him anywhere – even to the grave. Later that night, after Jesus was arrested, Peter refused to even admit to knowing Jesus – three different times. When Peter realized his betrayal, he wept bitterly.

GOD’S USE

After Christ’s resurrection, He specifically redeemed Peter. Peter became a leader of the early church and penned numerous letters that became New Testament books.

WOUND

The book of Acts tells the story of Saul (later Paul). Before he converted to following Christ, he oversaw the execution and persecution of many Christians throughout Judea. He admitted to binding and delivering men and women to prison, and to death.

GOD’S USE

After Paul’s conversion, he became one of the greatest leaders of the early church. He went on numerous missionary journeys throughout Asia and Europe. He wrote more New Testament books than any other author.

Each of these three people experienced severe trauma. But God did not give up on them. Stop for a moment and consider the question: how did God use David, Peter, and Paul for his purposes afterward?

Reflect & Respond

Journal Exercise #2

Reflect on the stories of David, Peter, and Paul, and consider how the wounds you have suffered in your life may be used for the furthering of God’s Kingdom.

If you have not yet downloaded and printed your Module 2 journal, you can download it now.

Module Part 3

HEALING BY BEING HEARD

God will use you and repurpose you for his work in this world. But in the midst of our pain and suffering, that seems far away. How can we heal from our soul wounds when the pain is so close and so deep?

WHEN WE TALK WITH SOMEONE WHO LISTENS WELL, IT CAN HELP US:

1

Gain an honest understanding of what happened and how it has affected us

2

Express our feelings about what happened – accept what happened

3

Feel heard and know we are not alone

4

Trust that God also wants to hear about our pain

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD LISTENER

KRIS AND ADAM’S STORY

Earlier in the module, you listened to Kris and Adam’s story. Adam came back from overseas with a serious physical wound and disability. His initial reaction to being home was to be reclusive and to self medicate with alcohol. Kris is at a complete loss for how she can help her husband. More than that, she has no one to turn to. How does she begin to heal, so she can also support her husband? Listen to the conclusion of her story below.

WHEN IS LISTENING NOT ENOUGH? WHEN SHOULD WE ACT BEYOND JUST LISTENING?

Here are signs that someone may need more help beyond spending time with a good listener:

  • Their behaviors put life and health at risk
  • They are unable to complete daily activities or care for basic needs
  • They frequently cannot manage their emotions
  • They think things are happening that are not real, such as hearing voices or imagining that they are being followed

These behaviors show that someone needs professional help. Offer to help connect them with a chaplain, pastor, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

For immediate assistance, reach out to these organizations.

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Reflect & Respond

Journal Exercise #3

We become good listeners by practicing. Even as we practice, we can help each other heal. Think about a conversation between yourself and someone that you trust. What are some helpful things you can do as a listener to support your friend?

If you have not yet downloaded and printed your Module 2 journal, you can download it now.

WHAT’S NEXT

Opening up by speaking to a trusted person may begin the healing process, but the pain will still be there. How should we handle this? Continue on to the next module in this series titled “Grieving.”

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