Lament, Moral Injury, and the Dark Parts of Scripture (Dr. Jill Firth)

“Moral injury” has been associated with groups like wounded soldiers and sexually abused women, but it can also affect those who have simply learned about something incredibly painful or violent, whether it be in the media or in Scripture. Dr. Jill Firth has a PhD in the psalms of lament and a particular interest in suffering. In this episode, Dru Johnson and Dr. Firth discuss the issue of moral injury and its relation to the Bible.

Throughout the conversation, Dr. Firth references the prophet Jeremiah and the lament psalms to address this heavy topic. We shouldn’t shy way from studying the dark and violent parts of Scripture. These can help foster our imagination for the horrific parts of life, so that we can better understand others’ experiences of suffering and our own.

People often seek easy answers or comforting verses in the Bible when they are struggling, for similar reasons that they turn to food, Netflix, or friends. But what we really need is to trust God with our pain and give Him a chance to be our Living Water—even if that means we must work through the pain and not quickly numb or resolve it.

Want to learn more? You can check out Dr. Firth’s “Journey Through the Psalms” project.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 The field of moral injury
  • 6:55 Why are people uncomfortable with lament in Scripture?
  • 13:34 Cultivating your imagination for suffering
  • 17:05 Responding to real stories of real people
  • 21:00 The length of the moral injury metaphor
  • 25:44 Needing to know God is with us
  • 30:32 Missing the element of lament in worship

Show notes by Serena Tuomi.

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